Exchange traded funds tracking Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, have disappointments for a while now. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSArca: EWZ), the largest Brazil ETF by assets, has endured the brunt of investors’ waning enthusiasm for the once beloved emerging market.
Already grappling with the effects of slumping commodities demand and a weak real, the country said its current account deficit grew to $8.7 billion in December from $5.1 billion in November. Economists expected a deficit of $6.8 billion. Brazil’s current account deficit is the result of a tumbling real, which the country’s central bank has proven impotent in defending despite a plethora of interest rate hikes. [Brazil ETFs Trying to Break Declines]
Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Brazil’s state-run oil company and almost 10% of EWZ’s weight, is trading at levels not seen since mid-2005. If there is a silver lining with Brazil ETFs, including EWZ, it is arguably twofold. First, bad news pertaining to the economy is well documented. Second, Brazilian stocks, like many in the developing world, are becoming attractive on valuation. [Petrobras Plagues Brazil ETFs]
“The good news is that such a decline in the real will make Brazilian assets cheaper for USD-domiciled investors. If we map three-month-ahead Brazilian relative performance vis-a-vis the US as a function of the excess carry return into the BRL and three-month Brazilian rates, we see how a continued decline in the BRL will push relative performance into a zone of green bubbles,” according to Howard Simmons for Minyanville.