In a year when many emerging equity markets are soaring, Latin America is a standout at the regional level and a big reason why is rebounding commodities prices.
Latin America’s central bank policies are notable, at least among the region’s two largest economies, Brazil and Mexico. Although Brazil’s central bank has not hiked interest rates since last year, its benchmark borrowing cost of 14.25% is among the highest in the world, emerging or developed markets. Earlier this year, Mexico’s central bank surprisingly raised rates to help prop up the peso.
Related: How Central Banks Affect LatAm ETFs
While exchange traded funds tracking Argentina, Brazil and Peru are garnering most of the headlines this year, and with good reason because are three of the world’s best-performing equity markets, Colombia and the Global X MSCI ETF (NYSEArca: GXG) are also on the mend. Colombia, South America’s second-largest economy, is a major producer of silver, copper and, to a lesser extent, gold. Colombia is also one of South America’s biggest oil producers.
It was just a few years ago when Colombia was one of the brightest emerging markets stars, but the commodities slumped experienced over the last two years pressured Colombian equities and GXG. Last year, Colombia’s central bank had to hike interest rates to cool inflation. Two years ago, Fitch Ratings upgraded its long-term foreign issuer default rating on Colombia, South America’s second-largest economy, to BBB from BBB-.
“Like Brazil, Colombia is trying to damp inflation and Colombia has the luxury of having far lower interest rates so the central bank there can be hawkish. Indeed, it has been. GXG has become one of this year’s best ETFs in the midst of a streak of 11 consecutive months in which Colombia’s central bank has boosted borrowing costs,” according to InvestorPlace. “Colombia’s benchmark lending rate is 7.75%, but the concern for GXG’s ability to remain a best ETF is that June inflation figures were Colombia’s highest in 16 years.”