5 Best And Worst Performing Country ETFs For Q1 2023: A Defaulting Country's Stock Market Beats S&P 500

Zinger Key Points
  • This quarter, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ranked 22nd among country ETFs worldwide.
  • Three Spanish-speaking countries were in the top five, with a Middle Eastern country ranking last.

As the first quarter of 2023 is coming to an end, now is an opportune time to assess the stock market performance of different countries.

The U.S. stock market, as represented by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, ranks only 22nd in the top performing country ETFs list, posting a quarterly total return of about 6%.

Let's take a look at the quarterly performance of the best and worst performing country ETFs worldwide.

Also Read: Best Exchange Traded Funds

5 Worst-Performing Country ETFs In Q1 2023

5) iShares MSCI Israel ETF EIS

  • The major stock market ETF in Israel has fallen 4% in the quarter ending March 2023, ranking as the fifth-worst country ETF so far this year. 
  • The worst contributor to the index performance was Bezeq The Israel Telecommunication ADR BZQIY, which fell 30% year to date.


  • The iShares MSCI UAE ETF, which seeks to track an index composed of UAE equities, is down 6.7% in Q1 2023 and still trades 25% lower than a year ago.
  • The worst contributor to the performance of the UAE ETF was First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, down 21% year-to-date, which is traded on the domestic exchange.


  • The iShares MSCI India ETF slipped 7.2% year to date, ranking as the third-worst country ETF.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. RLNIY was the fund's poorest contributor, down 13% year to date while accounting for around 10% of its holdings.

2) iShares MSCI Turkey ETF TUR

  • The iShares MSCI Turkey ETF was the second worst-performing country ETF in Q1 2023, delivering a negative return of 12%. But, the ETF is 63% higher compared to a year ago, mainly due to the currency effect.
  • The main contributor to the negative performance of the index was Hektas Ticaret T.A.S., which is only traded in the Istanbul Stock Exchange and is down 23% in the quarter.

1) VanEck Egypt Index ETF EGPT

  • The VanEck Egypt Index ETF was the worst-performing country ETF in Q1 2023, returning a negative 16%. The Egyptian stock market is also down 18% from a year ago.
  • EFG-Hermes Holding SAE GDR EFGZF was the main negative contributor to the overall performance, falling 30% year to date.

5 Best-Performing Country ETFs In Q1 2023

5) iShares MSCI Germany ETF EWG

  • The iShares MSCI Germany ETF returned 13% in the quarter, ranking as the fifth best-performing country ETF worldwide.
  • The main contributor to the positive performance of the fund was SAP SE SAP, which has risen 19% this quarter.

4) iShares MSCI Spain ETF EWP

  • A fund that tracks the performance of most-capitalized Spanish equities posted a quarterly return of 15.2%.
  • The main contributors of the performance were the two largest banks in Spain: Banco Santander SA SAN up 20.5% year-to-date, and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, SA BBVA, up 15%.

3) Global X MSCI Argentina ETF ARGT

  • The Global X MSCI Argentina ETF increased by 17.9% in the quarter, thus outperforming significantly compared to SPY, which is likely to have surprised many market analysts given Argentina's chronic debt crisis.
  • The best-performing Argentinian stock was MercadoLibre Inc MELI, also known as the "Amazon of South America," which rose 50% in the quarter and alone added 11 percentage points to the overall ETF performance.

2) iShares MSCI Ireland ETF EIRL

  • The Irish equity market is the second-best performer among global country ETFs, and the first in the European continent, posting an 18% performance in the quarter.
  • The betting company Flutter Entertainment ADR PDYPY was the main contributor to the index performance, after rising 27% year to date.

1) iShares MSCI Mexico ETF EWW

  • The iShares MSCI Mexico ETF has been the best performing country ETF in 2023, returning 18.2% in the first quarter of the year.
  • Given its large weight (14%) in the portfolio, American Movil SAB de CV ADR AMX was the major contributor to the Mexican stock market's success, after rising 9% year to date.

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