NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Over the past year, ETF investors have found finding regions around the globe not plagued by economic turmoil a tricky endeavor.In 2010, investors were greeted with constant reminders of the sovereign debt situation facing the European Union and fears of inflationary pressure in China. While this may have sent some investors fleeing, it may be time to make some steps back into the realm of international investing with the start of the New Year. One region which looks promising in 2011 is Latin America. While analysts and market commentators focus on the economic happenings in Europe and Asia, Latin America has enjoyed relative stability and managed to fly under the radar. This is a trend which will likely continue as we head into the near and medium term. Brazil, in particular, appears to be an exciting aspect of this region to watch. Investors looking for access to this attractive nation's prospects should turn to either the iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund ( EWZ) or the Market Vectors Brazil Small Cap Index ETF ( BRF). Brazil boasts a number of qualities which will make it a promising nation to watch in 2011, including its strong exposure to the global energy and commodities industry, and the growing strength of its middle class. EWZ is designed to track Brazil's largest companies and is ideally suited to track increasing global demand for commodities and energy. As developed nations heal and emerging markets continue to grow, oil, gas, metals and other natural resources will increasingly be needed. To meet this demand, companies including Petroleo Brasileiro ( PBR) and Vale will likely be in store for a welcomed increase. Together, the two companies account for more than a third of EWZ's index. The broader energy and materials industry together account for nearly half of the fund's assets. EWZ is an effective tool for investors looking for access to Brazil's prospects as a major global energy player. However, investor looking for a way to target Brazil's fast-growing consumer class may find a fund such as BRF to be a more promising tool. In her first public speech, newly inaugurated Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff offered a promising outlook for the nation. Among the many goals she has for her presidency is the hope that she will be able to successfully support the country's rapidly growing middle class.
BRF is dedicated to tracking a basket of strong, small-cap companies based in Brazil. Whereas companies such as PBR and VALE do business around the world, the companies representing BRF's index typically rely on demand from domestic customers. With about a third of the fund's index dedicated to the consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors, the fund will depend heavily on the Brazilian consumer's strength in 2011. Despite the economic storms which continue to brew in a number of regions outside of the United States, it is not impossible to gain promising exposure to foreign lands. Brazil is one example of a nation which holds promise as we embark on 2011. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.