The good news does for Middle East ETFs does not end with EGPT. The WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (NasdaqGS: GULF) is this year’s third-best foreign ETF. GULF has a 30-day SEC yield of 4.5%, though the real utility of this ETF lies in its country weights.
That includes a combined 58% weight to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Those countries will depart frontier markets ETFs benchmarked to MSCI indices in the second quarter to join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, but that move will not affect GULF because it is a regional fund, not a dedicated emerging or frontier ETF. [Frontier Markets Still Beating Emerging Peers]
Despite some declines in recent days, the Market Vectors Gulf States Index ETF (NYSEArca: MES) is also positive on the year and ranks fifth among global ETFs. MES allocates 61% of its weight to Qatar and UAE and like GULF, the Market Vectors offering will not be affected by those countries moving to emerging markets status.
Highlighting just how well Middle East ETFs have performed this year, the PowerShares MENA Frontier Countries Portfolio (NasdaqGS: PMNA) has been bid higher and been on the receiving end of some praise. However, there is an important caveat with PMNA: The ETF’s last day of trading is Feb. 18. That announcement was made over a month ago.
Investors looking for developed market fare in the Middle East should note the iShares MSCI Israel Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EIS) and the Market Vectors Israel ETF (NYSEArca: ISRA) have both traded modestly higher this year.