Of the five significant single-country exchange traded funds tracking Latin American nations, only the iShares MSCI Chile Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ECH) with its nearly 8% year-to-date loss has performed worse in 2014 than the iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWW).
Yet EWW, which is up 4.5% for the year, reigns supreme among the Latin America single-country quintet when it comes to asset-gathering proficiency. The lone dedicated Mexico ETF has hauled in $436.7 million this year.
That is $9.6 million more than the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ). EWZ, the largest ETF tracking Latin America’s largest economy, has outperformed EWW by better than two-to-one this year on optimism that President Dilma Rousseff is vulnerable to losing her reelection bid in Brazil’s national elections to be held in October. [Brazil ETFs Look for Election Help]
Comparing flows to EWW and EWZ highlights an interesting phenomenon: Investors, and clearly some of the institutional variety given the amount of capital that has moved into these ETFs, arguably favored EWW too early and were late to react to EWZ’s upside. [Investors Passover Brazil for Mexico]
Since the start of the third quarter, EWZ has brought in $393.5 million in assets compared to $232.9 million for EWW, but over that time, EWW is up nearly 4% while EWZ has traded slightly lower. EWZ plunged 4.3% on nearly triple the average daily volume last Friday after polls showed Rousseff widened her lead over Silva ahead of Brazil’s Oct. 5 election.
Not only have Rousseff’s reelection prospects brightened, but EWZ and Brazilian equities have had to contend with Moody’s Investors Service lowering its outlook on Brazil’s sovereign debt rating to negative from stable. That after S&P, in March, lowered the country’s sovereign debt rating to BBB-, the lowest investment grade. Not even halfway through September, EWZ is already down 11.3%. [Moody’s Lowers Outlook on Brazil]