The Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF (ARGT) is not doing much of anything Friday despite news the government is in talks with the World Bank for a $3 billion loan. Argentina is looking to resolve claims with a lender’s tribunal.
The yield spread on Argentine bonds compared to U.S. Treasuries dropped 0.24% to 895 basis points after climbing “as high as 1,337 basis points this year. Yields on restructured dollar bonds due in 2017 dropped 41 basis points to 13.73 percent today,” reports Camila Russo for Bloomberg.
After slumping last year and being reverse split earlier this year, ARGT has been a surprisingly stout performer as of late. The lone Argentina ETF has surged almost 21% in the past 90 days despite reports of hyper-inflation and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s overt hostility toward foreign companies operating in her country. [Argentina ETF Getting a Little Better]
The yield spread between Argentine bonds and comparable Treasuries was about 1,000 basis points in July following reports the International Monetary Fund is considering the South American country’s request to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear its case involving holders of defaulted debt. Argentina wants to pay holders of restructured debt and wants to force holders of its defaulted bonds into that payment scheme, but those investors, including U.S. hedge funds have resisted.
There are other reasons ARGT has been a stealth Latin America ETF winner this year. The ETF has benefited from soaring Internet stocks. MercadoLibre (MELI), the Latin American equivalent of an Amazon (NasdaqGM:AMZ) or eBay (EBAY), has jumped 60% this year. That stock is ARGT’s largest holding with a weight of 20%. [Argentina ETF in Focus as Pope Francis Comes to Power]
ARGT is headed for a 1.1 gain this week and the catalyst is telling regarding investors’ view of the South American country. On October 7, it was announced Fernandez needed surgery to drain a hematoma in her skull, Bloomberg reported.
Said another way, the potential for regime in change in Argentina, no matter how slight, can be a positive short-term catalyst for ARGT.
Global X FTSE Argentina ETF
- basis points