What the heck has happened to Brazil?
For years, this vast country, once touted as a leading emerging market opportunity, was a global economic powerhouse and the growth engine of Latin America. Always eager to apply a snappy label, financial pundits called the country's stunning growth "The Samba Effect."
Today, Brazilians are dancing on the edge of an abyss. The country is now home to some of the most toxic stocks in the world, such as energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras, aircraft maker Embraer and the utility CPFL Energia, which have declined 22.53%, 21.27% and 20.48%, respectively, over the past year.
Underscoring the country's deepening quagmire, Brazil's federal police on Friday, March 4 detained former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for questioning in an investigation of a bribery and money laundering scheme.
Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country, by geographical area as well as total population (204 million people). But you can do more than simply watch in horror as the nation sinks into chaos. Below, we show you a sure-fire and easy way to make money from this once-proud nation's imminent collapse.
We're not peddling alarmism to make our investment case: Brazil's challenges are truly epic. Brazil's gross domestic product shrank by 3.8% in 2015, the biggest contraction in a quarter century. Government officials now admit that the country is on track this year for its most severe recession in more than a century. The country's central bank is maintaining its benchmark interest rate at 14.25% in attempts to tame the inflation beast, but to no avail. Inflation stands at 10.67%, with unemployment at 7.6% and rising.
Sputtering global growth and the plunge in commodity and energy prices have clobbered Brazil's mining, agricultural and industrial sectors. Brazilian stocks are among the worst performing investments you can find. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped exchange-traded fund (ETF), a proxy for the country's economy, has declined 27.62% over the past 12 months.