Yesterday we covered Egypt in terms of EGPT (Market Vectors Egypt, Expense Ratio 0.98%) since the country has been in the headlines for the past several days in regards to the ISIS terror presence and recent events in neighboring Libya, and today we shift focus out of North Africa and into the Middle East.
This is not a terribly deep ETF category in terms of fund offerings, with seven funds listed here, and the largest is EIS (iShares MSCI Israel Capped, Expense Ratio 0.62%) with approximately $112 million in assets under management. The fund debuted in 2008 and averages a modest 39,000 shares traded daily and it is considerably larger than the second biggest fund focused on the “Middle East”, which would be GAF (SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa, Expense Ratio 0.49%) which has accumulated $57 million in AUM since inception.
However, it should be noted that more than 74% of the fund is concentrated in South Africa, with only about 15.97% of its exposure to the Middle East, so in terms of its correlation with potential terror related instability in North Africa in the Middle East, it is likely not a direct fit.
UAE (iShares MSCI UAE Capped, Expense Ratio 0.61%) has impressively raised more than $43 million since its April 2014 inception less than one year ago, and this is not terribly surprising given visible investor appetite for other types of investments in the UAE, ETFs notwithstanding.
Next in line is Market Vectors version of an Israel Equity focused fund, ISRA (Market Vectors Israel, Expense Ratio 0.59%) which is about $41 million in asset size currently, as well as GULF (WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund, Expense Ratio 0.88%) which seems to provide pure North Africa/Middle East exposure (34% weighting to Qatar, >26% weighting to UAE, >16% to Kuwait, >7% weighting to Egypt, and so on).
Furthermore, iShares also launched QAT (iShares MSCI Qatar Capped, Expense Ratio 0.61%) in April of last year along with UAE and the fund has respectably attracted more than $38 million in assets under management since then.