Global dividends jumped 12% in the first quarter of 2023. Are you getting your share?

International investors generally realised far greater dividend growth than their ASX counterparts last quarter.

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Key points

  • Dividends across the world grew by 12% in the March quarter to around a whopping $500 billion
  • But those from ASX stocks plunged, falling 6.6% to $27.9 billion, as mining giants slashed payments
  • For those wanting a piece of the international dividend pie, plenty of ASX ETFs might take your fancy

Dividend investors around the world rejoiced over the three months ended 31 March. The passive income handed out by listed companies grew 12% on a headline basis to a record US$326.7 billion over the period – around $500 billion Australian.

That's according to Janus Henderson Group CDI (ASX: JHG)'s latest Global Dividend Index.

Sadly, ASX investors might be scratching their heads right about now. If you're among those who didn't notice a substantial increase in your dividend income during the February reporting season, you're not alone.

ASX dividends slump amid surging global payouts

Australia lagged the world when it came to dividend growth last quarter, with ASX shares offering 6.6% less in the way of passive income on a headline basis – just $27.9 billion.

And Janus Henderson previously warned Aussies such a happening could occur.

This time last year the asset manager pointed to "Australia's high level of dividend concentration", saying it leaves the nation dependent on a handful of companies for dividends. Many of those call the mining sector home.

In its latest release, Janus Henderson commented:

The end of the recent mining boom is seeing payouts in the sector normalise, bringing first-quarter cuts.

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) was to blame for much of the drop in Aussie payouts. The iron ore giant, and ASX's largest company by market cap, slashed its interim dividend by 40%.

Though, the company was still the second-largest dividend payer in the world last quarter – down from the top spot in the prior period.

Fellow mining giants Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) and Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) also cut their recent offerings by 13% and 46% respectively.

How might ASX investors have gotten a slice of growing payouts?

But not all Aussie investors missed out on the global dividend growth. Those boasting geographically diverse portfolios likely benefited.

The 12% lift in dividends around the world last quarter was led by three markets. Emerging markets saw dividends grow 22.5%, Europe (excluding the UK) boasted a whopping 36% of dividend growth, and Japan saw offerings increase 17.7%.

And getting exposure to those regions needn't be difficult. Plenty of ASX exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offer just that.

For instance, an investor keen to get a grip on emerging markets might turn to the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets Shares ETF (ASX: VGE).

Another wishing to hold a slice of European markets, without the UK, might find what they're looking for in the Betashares Europe ETF – Currency Hedged (ASX: HEUR).

Finally, ASX ETFs aiming to mirror the performance of the Japanese stock market include the iShares MSCI Japan ETF AUD (ASX: IJP).

Looking for broader exposure to international dividends?

Well, perhaps the Betashares Global Income Leaders ETF (ASX: INCM) might be more to your taste.

The fund tracks 100 high-yielding companies listed outside of Australia.

Of those, 64% are listed in the United States – where dividends grew by 8.3% on a headline basis last quarter to a record US$153.4 billion, Janus Henderson found.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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