Investing in Latin American equities
Directly investing in Latin American markets can be risky for foreign investors as most of the countries are frontier markets. ETFs investing in Latin America stock markets are largely concentrated in two major markets – Brazil and Mexico. While some countries have opened up their stock markets to foreign investors, these economies remain difficult to access due to illiquidity and poor trading exchanges.
Investors betting on the revival of Latin American economies have two options. They can either consider investing in ETFs providing exposure to the entire Latin American region or place their bets in the continent’s largest markets through country-focused ETFs.
The iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF) provides exposure to the overall Latin American region but 80% of its holdings are concentrated in Brazil and Mexico, followed by Chile, Peru and Colombia. It invests in a portfolio of the 40 largest companies in the region, which are more than 50% dedicated to the financial and consumer defensive sectors. YTD, this ETF has climbed up 14%.
Another popular Latin American ETF is the SPDR S&P Emerging Latin America ETF (GML). This ETF invests in a basket of 245 stocks, thereby providing larger exposure to various stocks in the region. YTD this ETF has gained 15.1%.
Investors seeking concentrated exposure in specific countries can consider investing in the following country ETFs:
- iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ)
- iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW)
- iShares MSCI Chile Capped ETF (ECH)
- Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT)
- iShares MSCI All Peru Capped ETF (EPU)
- iShares MSCI Colombia Capped ETF (ICOL)
ETFs investing in Brazil have outperformed in the last two years as the country continues to recover from a recession. YTD the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF has gained 13.4% as investors are pinning their hopes on reforms in a recession-struck country.