Chile has taken the gold — thanks to copper.
In the final week of MarketWatch’s March ETF Madness, a multiweek battle of single-country exchange-traded funds against single-country exchange-traded funds, a winner has easily emerged. Chile
extended its weekly winning streak to five, leaving all 31 other countries in the dust with a 0.8% advance that easily allowed it to take the title.
Coming in second place was Mexico
a strong contender that finally stumbled under the weight of its own recent gains. The fund lost 1.7% in the latest week, though it’s unlikely investors are too disappointed, as it remains up 16.5% in 2017.
That gain was eclipsed by Chile’s rally, however. The fund is up nearly 21% thus far this year, with half of that coming since the tournament began. The gains helped it demolish Singapore
in week one, 4.3% to 1.8%; best Taiwan
in week two, 2.5% to 1.1%; squeeze past South Africa
in week three, with a 0.4% gain against South Africa’s 8.6% decline; and topple Israel
in week five, 3% to 0.4%.
Here is your final bracket, with the champion crowned. As a reminder, the United States came in last in the tournament, having posted the worst weekly move in the first round.
Chile’s equity market has been in an uptrend for months; the year-to-date gain of the ETF extends a rally of 17% it saw over 2016.
According to Phil Davis, chief executive officer of PSW Investments, a San Diego-based trading and investment firm, the Chile story is largely a copper story.
“The country is very strongly identified with copper, which is a main agent of growth for the region,” he said. “In addition to supply issues, [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s election boosted copper on the hopes he would pass a huge infrastructure package. The reality [for the legislation] isn’t that simple, but it caused copper to get bought up like crazy, and that’s Chile’s market right there.”
Copper prices have seen a huge surge of late, having risen more than 20% since late October. Prices recently hit a 20-month high amid concerns over a supply disruption at a mine in Indonesia — a factor that also contributed to the gain in Chile’s market.
Despite the country’s victory in MarketWatch’s March ETF Madness, Davis cautioned that the country may not continue posting the strong returns it has seen of late.
“The country is very upset with its president [Michelle Bachelet] and may vote her out this year, which could mean a lot of political unrest and volatility,” he said. “Other countries in the region, like Peru or Bolivia, are probably in better shape.”
Read the whole series:Here comes MarketWatch’s March ETF Madness
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