Since BZF is a different type of fund than EWZ or BRF, investors should not expect returns that compare to the other two funds. As of July 10, BZF was up 13.55% for the year. For the one-month period ending July 10, the fund was down 1.68%. BZF is not as liquid as EWZ or BRF and has a three-month average daily trading volume of just 65,187. The fund has a 0.45% expense ratio.
Brazil is uniquely positioned to emerge from the global economic slowdown stronger than before. The current government has been aggressive in reforming financial policy and placing countercyclical measures into place. Brazil's top companies have been aggressive in reaching out to the broader global market. The recent unsubscribed IPO of Visanet raised approximately $4.2 billion, with 70% of the investors coming from outside Brazil. The New York Stock Exchange currently lists 31 Brazilian ADRs, with a combined market capitalization of approximately $500 billion.
Unless investors clearly understand the risks and rules of currency trading, I would recommend that they choose equity based ETFs like EWZ and BRF to gain access to Brazil's marketplace. EWZ is already an ETF giant, and BRF will likely grow rapidly in the months to come. Whether investors favor the small-cap (BRF) or large-cap (EWZ) approach, Brazil ETFs would be appropriate as a small investment in a well diversified portfolio.
Investors looking for a broader exposure to emerging markets including Brazil can check out iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM), Claymore/BNY BRIC (EEB), SPDR S&P Emerging Latin America (GML) and Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF (VWO).