There are those who doubt whether focusing on BRIC—Brazil, Russia, India and China—is still a viable way of thinking about emerging market exposure.
The larger these economies get, some say, the more correlated they become with developed markets, and the less off-the-charts growth opportunities they provide.
But in the past 12 months, it’s BRIC that’s shinning. And not just among emerging markets.
A look at the best single-country ETFs in the past year has Russia, Brazil and China ETFs dominating with impressive performances.
What’s more, many of them aren’t total market, or even large-cap-focused strategies. Their returns point to solid performance among companies that are most in tune with domestic themes and with consumer trends. They also suggest a growth story that’s picking up pace among commodities-rich countries, and enjoying a resurgence of investor confidence.
Here are the top 10 single-country ETFs in the past 12 months:
VanEck Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ) is up 130.5%
This ETF offers exposure to Russia’s small-cap companies. What’s unique about it is that RSXJ also includes companies domiciled elsewhere, but that generate most of their revenue in Russia. These companies today represent about 20% of the portfolio. Basic materials, industrials and financials are its biggest sector bets.
Like most small-cap emerging market ETFs, RSXJ isn’t cheap. Accessing these corners of the market isn’t all that easy. The fund costs 0.77% in expense ratio, or about $77 per $10,000 invested.
RSXJ came to market in 2011, and it has $107 million in assets. It’s one of only six Russia-focused ETFs in the market today, and the only small-cap Russia fund.