Global X Funds, a United States provider of exchange-traded funds (ETF), has launched the Global X FTSE ASEAN 40 ETF, the first such fund listed in the US to target the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Bruno del Ama, chief executive officer of the New York-based Global X Funds said that ASEAN was "one of the most dynamic regions in the world with accelerating consumer demand that should develop a middle class of about 300 million people by 2015". Therefore, Global X Funds had to provide access to the ASEAN market for US investors, he said.

According to ETF Daily News, a subsidiary of WBC Media, LLC, a New Hampshire company set up to run financial news and opinion on ETFs, Southeast Asian nations have profited from considerable growth and a combined market capitalisation of 1.75 trillion USD in 2010, larger than that of both India and Brazil. The region also enjoys a strong relationship with China as the largest economy in Asia seeks to develop the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to boost trade relations.

Global X FTSE ASEAN 40 ETF index tracks the performance of the 40 largest companies in five of the 10 ASEAN member countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand./.