Chile ETFs Boosted By Rising Copper Prices

Includes: AND, ECH
by: Tom Lydon

Chile is one emerging economy of Latin America that has great growth potential and can offer investors a play on the commodity market. The iShares MSCI Chile (BATS:ECH) tracks the world’s largest producer of copper and also gives some mining exposure.

“Of course, when investors think about Chile, there’s often just one thing that comes to mind: Copper, and for a good reason. Chile is the world’s largest supplier of copper, exporting anywhere from 30% to 40% of the copper in the world, and is also home to the largest reserves of copper on earth - some 33%,” Dave Fry for TheStreet wrote.

However, at a closer look, ECH is not an exact replica of Chile’s economy. The holdings in ECH range from utilities, financial services, basic materials and mining. Although large amounts of mining money are injected into the economy of Chile, ECH is not a pure play on copper. Another ETF to gain exposure to Chile is the Global X FTSE Andean 40 ETF (NYSEARCA:AND), which gives the country about 25% of the portfolio.

Going forward, mining investments in Chile will push production up 50% in the next 10 years, and could even weaken copper prices over the next couple of years, reported John W. Miller for The WSJ. In total, mining companies are planning $91 billion in new investments for the next eight years, according to Minister of Mining Hernan de Solminihac.

A boom in copper consumption is being driven by demand from China and India. The new investments will drive an increase in annual national production to 7.5 million tons by 2022 from 5.2 million tons in 2012, the minister said in the WSJ story.

“We think prices will remain high this year and next, because fundamentals will remain the same, but after two years, they’ll come down to around $3 per pound," after factoring in new production, Mr. de Solminihac said.

iShares MSCI Chile

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Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.