The Next Brazil?
Cramer on Tuesday focused on an investor-friendly country in Latin America. It boasts vast oil and mineral wealth, a booming agricultural sector and fast-growing economy.
No, not Brazil. Cramer was referring to Colombia.
"While everybody's been focused on the super-hot Brazilian economy to the south, Colombia's quietly gone and become amazingly investable," Cramer said, adding that Colombia's gross domestic product is expected to grow at a 5 percent clip for the next two years.
Colombia is also adding jobs. Its unemployment rate is expected to fall 11 percent this year, where it had been at 12.3 percent in 2009. The country also benefits from great resource wealth, as more than half of the foreign investment that comes into Colombia goes into its oil and mining sectors.
Cramer thinks Colombian stocks have a big upside catalyst coming, too. In a few months, the Chilean, Colombian and Peruvian stock markets will merge to create the Integrated Latin American Market. He thinks the new market will lead to an influx of liquidity.
The best way to play Colombia, Cramer said, is through Bancolombia . The largest bank in the country, it has 21 percent market share in loans and 20 percent share in deposits. As unemployment continues to fall, wages increase and inflation stabilizes, Cramer thinks more people will be able to take out loans. In addition, a new government housing program is expected to build 150,000 homes a year. Cramer thinks the program will give a serious boost to the mortgage market, especially since per capita, Colombia is building more homes per year than the U.S. is.
At 28 percent, Colombia currently has one of the lowest credit-to-GDP ratios of any emerging market. By comparison, Brazil's ratio is 46 percent, Chile's is 73 percent and South Africa is at 82 percent. Cramer thinks that means Bancolombia has more room to grow as people get access to its services. He expects it to grow earnings-per-share at 14.4 percent over the next five years, yet continue to trade at just 11 times earnings.
Ecopetrol is another play on Colombia, however on its oil industry. The stock trades rather lightly in the U.S., though, so Cramer recommends being careful with it. As the national oil company, Ecopetrol is also the country's only vertically integrated oil company. It has a fast production growth rate and benefits from rising oil prices. The stocks boasts a 3 percent dividend yield, too.
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