Leading up to the previously announced changes for the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index, the underlying index for the $761.9 million iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSEArca: FM), the changes that seemingly got the most attention were the eventual departures of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The departures of Qatar and UAE, which are occurring on a gradual basis through November, mean other countries will take receive larger weights in FM and the MSCI Frontier 100 Index. Among the countries that will have larger footprints in FM when Qatar and UAE are gone are Kuwait, Nigeria and Pakistan. [Pakistan to be a Bigger Part of This ETF]
Kuwait is already FM’s largest country with Nigeria in the fourth spot. Nigeria stocks have been responding positively to the index change. On Monday, Nigerian stocks soared to a four-month high as global investors anticipate the country’s weight in FM and the MSCI Frontier 100 Index jumping to 19% from just over 12%.
Nigeria will become the ETF’s and the index’s second-largest country weight after Kuwait. No two countries will be allowed to combine for 40% of FM’s weight. [Changes Could Produce a Better Frontier ETF]
The Global X Nigeria Index ETF (NYSEArca: NGE), the lone Nigeria ETF, rose almost two-thirds of a percent Monday to its highest levels since January on volume that was nearly five times the daily average, indicating the fund is benefiting from index buying of Nigerian shares.
Currently, only three of FM’s top-20 holdings are Nigerian stocks, but Forte Oil and financial services firm Ecobank are being added to FM’s index. Ecobank is about 1% of NGE’s weight, according to Global X data.
Nigeria’s ascent in FM and the MSCI Frontier 100 Index comes just weeks after the country became Africa’s largest economy, but also as the OPEC member is grappling with the effects of a weak currency, reduced oil imports to the U.S. and rampant political volatility.
“Terrorist attacks in the Pakistani and Nigerian capitals should remain an unnerving phenomenon for citizens of both nations, as the random disruption of Nigerian petroleum and natural gas pipelines by the insurgency is not expected to abate in intensity for the immediate future,” said S&P Capital IQ in recent research note. [Evaluating Political Risk With Frontier ETFs]
After NGE, the ETF with the second-largest weight to Nigeria is the Market Vectors Africa Index ETF (NYSEArca: AFK). AFK currently allocates 16.9% of its weight to Nigeria, making it the ETF’s third-largest country exposure. However, AFK is a GDP-weighted ETF, meaning it is possible that following the fund’s next rebalance that Nigeria’s presence will increase in AFK as well.
Global X Nigeria Index ETF