The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts GDP growth in 2011 for 40 out of 42 of the world’s largest economies. If those countries are going to contribute positively to the current global industrial cycle, manufacturers will require more oil, gas, corn, wheat, potash, aluminum, coal, silver, rare earth metals and a wide array of commodities.
It follows that many thinkers are focusing on the investment prospects of the energy and materials segments. Yet, even if businesses in emerging countries contribute more to GDP than consumers contribute (the opposite is true stateside), smart folks may be overlooking the consumption angle.
Keep in mind, the estimated trade deficit for the U.S. is $500,000,000,000… or half a trillion dollars. The fact that the rest of the world accumulates these liquidated assets implies a trickling down of wealth for rising middle classes; spending power in China and Brazil may be worthy of the most attention due to the size and growth rates of their respective economies.
Now… here’s why I’ve suggested that the foreign consumer may not be getting his/her due. Since a corrective equity phase effectively bottomed out in early July, emerging market consumer funds have beaten emerging market mainstays. For example, the export-dominant iShares MSCI Brazil (NYSEARCA:EWZ) is heavily weighted towards materials, but it is underperforming the local consumer-oriented Market Vectors Brazil Small Cap (NYSEARCA:BRF). Moreover, while Global X Brazil MidCap (NYSEARCA:BRAZ) may be well-diversified across the entire economic spectrum, the consumer-dedicated Global X Brazil Consumer (NYSEARCA:BRAQ) is on a similar track to Brazil Small Cap (BRF).
China demonstrates a similar dynamic. Both Small Cap China (NYSEARCA:HAO) and Global X China Consumer (NYSEARCA:CHIQ) concentrate more on middle class consumption on the mainland; in contrast, SPDR S&P China (NYSEARCA:GXC) focuses on large multinational corporations.
Disclosure: Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial, Inc, and/or its clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds, and/or any investment asset mentioned above. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial, Inc. or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert web site. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships.