New Zealand is now officially for sale on the New York Stock Exchange at the very reasonable price of 55 basis points (or 0.55 per cent).

Our country - or to be more accurate, our economy as viewed through the distorted lens of the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) - has been wrapped into a neat little single-share item by the iShares packaging department and made available to US-based investors.

According to iShares, an entity now owned by mega global fund manager Blackrock, its Kiwi product is "the first ETF [exchange-traded fund] focused solely on the New Zealand market".

The NZX might have a problem with that statement given it's been offering its Smartshares ETFs, which include four products based on the NZ sharemarket, for ages.

Smartshares, however, has never been a big hit with New Zealand investors despite a groundswell of demand for ETF products. Partly that may be because Smartshares are pretty expensive ETFs in global terms - costing retail investors around 75 basis points versus a comparable Australian index ETF that goes for less than half that.

The iShares NZ product carves 20 basis points off the Smartshares price but it also, according to this story on US website 'The Street', is of much, um, smarter construction.

"The new ETF will track an index from MSCI that is built differently, and better, than the NZ 50 benchmark, which is very heavy in real estate stocks," The Street says.

In practice, this means iShares NZ (NYSE code ENZL) is composed of only 23 stocks but it's NZ in a nutshell.

So far ENZL has been reasonably popular with US investors with average trading volumes of about 130,000 shares per day (Smartshares NZX50 product averages just over 90,000 share trades per day) and its price has held up well.

In its blurb iShares said ENZL would provide investors "access to a developed country in the midst of a strong economic recovery" - which would be news to many here.

But don't expect ENZL, or any of the extensive iShares portfolio, to hit the NZX any time soon. As well as the obvious competitive issues there appear to problems getting ETFs tax-compliant for our PIE (portfolio investment entity) regime. AMP, for example, has just had the PIE status revoked for its WINZ fund (an NZX-listed ETF based on global markets).