The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ), the largest exchange traded fund tracking Brazilian stocks, has received plenty of attention this year and most of it has not been good as stocks in Latin America’s largest economy have tumbled.
The only Brazil ETF that has delivered anything resembling noteworthy performance this year is the ProShares UltraShort MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: BZQ). BZQ, the double-leveraged answer to EWZ, is up nearly 73% year-to-date and almost 141% over the past year.
“The trade against Brazilian stocks has been especially profitable this year as the tumble in equities is exacerbated by the 32 percent plunge in the real that’s made it the worst performing emerging-market currency,” report Andressa Lelli and Julie Leite for Bloomberg.
Some traders have been persistently bearish on Brazilian stocks and EWZ this year. Last month, short interest in EWZ spiked to more than a third of shares outstanding, good for the highest levels in nine years. However, traders have pulled more than $10 million from BZQ in the current quarter.
Slack GDP estimates and a tumbling real are among the downside catalysts pressuring Brazilian stocks and EWZ. Brazil’s planning ministry attributes a major portion of the turn to the projected depreciation of about 21% in the real currency against the U.S. dollar. [Brazil ETF Slides, Bleeds Assets]