Emerging market exchange traded funds have been on a tear as investors return to riskier equities. While most investors may be focused on the obvious choices, like China, some Latin American emerging markets also provide great growth opportunities.
The Inter-American Development Bank recently projected Latin American economies to expand 3.6% in 2012, reports Susan J. Alise for MSN Money.
South American economies enjoy a growing middle class, which expanded by 56 million more households between 1999 and 2011.
"This represents a formidable increase of the consumers' market," according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
ETFs provide investors with an easy way to access hard-to-reach markets like those found in developing economies. Emerging market ETFs provide diversification among a group of companies domiciled in an emerging country. However, potential investors should be aware that these markets are riskier and may exhibit volatile swings.
- iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index Fund (NYSEARCA:ILF). The fund is heavily weighted toward Brazil and Mexico's equities; and includes some exposure to Peru, Colombia and Chile. Top holdings include America Movil (NYSE:AMX), Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR) and Vale SA (NYSE:VALE). ILF has an expense ratio of 0.50% and has a 12-month yield of 2.88%.
- Global X Colombia ETF (NYSEARCA:GXG). The country's oil boom and large infrastructure spending is boosting fund's performance. Colombia's economy expanded around 5.6% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The fund leans toward the materials and financial sectors as both combined make up around half the fund's portfolio. GXG has an expense ratio of 0.83%.
- IShares MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWZS). The Brazilian economy is still chugging along at a 3.3% growth rate and remains the regions largest travel and tourism market. EWZS seeks to reflect the country's small-cap equities market, which has a heavier emphasis on consumer discretionary, industrials and financial stocks. The ETF has an expense ratio of 0.59% and a 2.03% yield.
- iShares MSCI Peru (NYSEARCA:EPU). Peru's economy grew 5.4% in January and the country's Finance Minister expects growth to average 5.7% over the year. Metals and mining dominates the country's economy as it is a major gold, silver and copper producer. EPU reflects the country's emphasis on materials as the sector makes up 54% of the fund's holdings. The fund has an expense ratio of 0.59% and a 2.45% 12-month yield.
iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index Fund
Max Chen contributed to this article.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.