Well-documented has been the fact that ongoing protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have sent stocks there plunging and bond yields and credit default swaps used to insure those bonds against default soaring.
Since May 31, the iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEArca: TUR) has lost 10.3% while investors have pulled nearly $82 million from the ETF. Making matters worse, TUR has crashed below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. [Turkey ETF Down 20% in a Month]
However, TUR is not the only ETF tracking a country in the Middle East that investors are running away from. Put the Market Vectors Egypt ETF (NYSEArca: EGPT) on that dubious list. TUR may be grabbing most of the attention, but on Monday, EGPT touched a new 52-week low at $9.51 on strong volume, a sign sellers are attacking the embattled ETF.
The $9.50 area is not just a 52-week low for EGPT. That price area represents the ETF’s lowest point of 2011, the year the fund was rocked by the Arab Spring protests. EGPT is no stranger to politically-induced volatility as its post-Arab Spring performance indicates. Late last year, the ETF plunged after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi granted himself wide-ranging judicial powers that many Egyptians viewed as a blatant power grab that represented just another dictatorship overseeing the country. [Egypt ETF Slides on Political Unrest]
Now, EGPT is being tasked on multiple fronts. The protests in Turkey, once believed to be one of the more stable Arab states and a successful model of political Islam, are being monitored closely in Egypt, according to Agence France-Presse. Additionally, Ethiopian refugees in Egypt are protesting alleged mistreatment by Egyptians after Ethiopia’s decision to erect a dam on the Blue Nile, a main tributary of the Nile River.
Those protests come as Mursi has been ensconced in controversy since taking office. Massive protests are scheduled for June 30, the first anniversary of Mursi’s rise to power. While the Mursi regime rebuffs the notion of parallels between Egypt and the current state of affairs in Turkey, there is no getting around the fact that everyday Egyptians are mostly unsatisfied by Mursi’s leadership and that EGPT is reacting in similar fashion.
Last March, EGPT jumped to a one-year high and proceeded to trade higher for much of the year as investors ignored Egypt’s rising unemployment and dwindling foreign currency reserves. That trend does not appear to be repeating as EGPT is down 8.5% in just the past week. Year-to-date, the $30.4 million ETF has plunged 28.4%.
Market Vectors Egypt ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this piece.