The last five years saw China's big ambition to develop its infrastructure and mass market condos for its people and hence steel consumption went through the roof, resulting in the bull market in steel and shipping (of iron ore to make steel). That party is now probably going into its 11th hour and Cinderella is ready to drop her glass shoe.
China needs to shift its economy from manufacturing to services, which would need less steel and hence less iron ore. Not to mention that after getting squeezed by the Australian and Brazilian iron ore producers for so many years, China is also aggressively pursuing new avenues of supply in other regions like Mongolia and Africa. This means new supply, less pricing power. So the iron ore story might not have a happy ending.
The saving grace for the iron ore producers would perhaps be bargaining power. With 3 guys controlling 80% of the market, basically they call the shots. They manage the supply, make sure there is always just enough. They manage the spot market, make sure that it stays elevated, then the contract pricing would have to follow.
In the longer run, it is also worth noting that steel consumption is very much integral to the development of our civilization and it will continue to grow. China may have peaked, but S.E. Asia needs a lot steel in the next few years. Not to mention Latin America would probably step up, which will benefit Vale. After that we have India. So maybe there is still hope.
To sum it up, the Brazil ETF makes a lot of sense, especially for the long run. Pricing wise, it is currently 25% below its all time high. It is likely to surpass that in the next 5 years.
As to downside, well, there is about 70% to its Lehman low, but it's not likely to go there bcos there is some valuation support. I would say it might go to 1.3x PBR or PE of 8x, ie 30% decline from current levels. But if that happens, then it's time to buy more!
Well just to sum up here:
Exposure to Energy, Iron Ore and Brazil
Cheap valuation at PER 11x with 3% dividend yield
High single digit long term growth rate
Often at discount to NAV (due to tracking error - see below)
Replacement of oil and China's slowdown
Low liquidity (10,000 shares traded per day only)
High tracking error (does not track the index well)
70% from absolute low