There is a decent chance that most folks would not guess that a currency ETF tracking a risky emerging markets currency pulled in $500 million in assets last week, but that is exactly what the WisdomTree Brazilian Real Fund (NYSEArca: BZF) did.
Sudden appetite for BZF could be tied to a small amount of money managers adding the ETF to portfolios as part of quarterly rebalancing. Then again, the real has recently been a strong performer and previously has not been nearly as weak as other emerging markets currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah. [Brazil ETFs Languish]
BZF is up 6% in the past month and is only down 1.7% year-to-date, a solid performance compared to the woes of the rupiah and Indian rupee. The real is trading slightly lower today against the dollar, but that could be a case of some profit-taking in the Brazilian currency after it touched a four-month high last week.
Over the weekend, central bank President Alexandre Tombini said that Brazil may extend into 2014 the $60 billion program of foreign-exchange swaps and credit lines to support the currency and curb inflation as the U.S. tapers its monetary easing efforts, Bloomberg reported.
Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service pared its outlook on Brazilian sovereign bonds to stable from positive while affirming the credit rating of Latin America’s largest economy at Baa2. BZF is still up almost 2.8% since the start of October. [EM Bond ETF’s Could Fall as Moody’s Downgrades Brazil]
Brazil’s central bank has been one of the more voracious raisers of interest rates, part of its effort to fight inflation. Earlier this month, the central bank raised rates for a fifth straight meeting, announcing a 50-basis point increase to 9.5%. Even if another interest rate hike does not materialize before the end of 2013, it is widely expected Brazil will have double digit interest rates at some point in 2014.
WisdomTree Brazilian Real Fund