After a dismal year, two members of the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China – may not be up to normal standards that the markets have come to expect. Instead of taking on broad exposure, investors can pick and choose country weights with exchange traded funds.
Over the past year, the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (BKF) was up 0.5%, SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF (BIK) rose 1.1% and Guggenheim BRIC ETF (EEB) was down 11.1%. [Bad Sequel: Brazil, LatAm ETFs Start 2015 in 2014 Fashion]
Weighing on the BRICs group, Brazil and Russia stumbled last year. For instance, the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) declined 14.2% over the past year while the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) plunged 44.1%. [Russia ETFs Slide After S&P Revises Outlook, Warns of Junk Rating]
On the other hand, the Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (ASHR) , which tracks mainland Chinese A-shares, surged 61.9% over the past year, while Chinese H-shares ETFs including the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) rose 20.1% and SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC) increased 11.0%.
Alternatively, investors can target the two large Asian economies through the First Trust ISE Chindia Index Fund (FNI) , which includes both Chinese and Indian stocks.
Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief economist who coined the BRIC acronym, argues that we might have to shorten the acronym to just “IC” if Brazil and Russia fail to revive their flailing economies by the end of the decade, Bloomberg reports.
“I might be tempted to call it just ’IC’ or if the next three years are the same as the last for Brazil and Russia, I might in 2019!!” O’Neill said in the article.
Economists’ median estimate for growth point to a 7% expansion in China and 5.5% India, whereas Russia is expected to contract 1.8% and Brazil could grow less than 1%. Russia has been dragged down as oil prices plunged and Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine crippled the economy. Meanwhile, Brazil is dealing with a prominent corruption scandal involving the state-owned oil company.
“It is tough for the BRIC countries to all repeat their remarkable growth rates” of the first decade of this century, O’Neill added. “There was a lot of very powerful and fortuitous forces taking place, some of which have now gone.”
iShares MSCI BRIC ETF
For more information on the BRIC countries, visit our BRICs category.
Max Chen contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.