Russell Indexes, one of the largest providers of indexes for use by exchange traded funds, said it has demoted Morocco to frontier market status from the emerging markets classification.

“In terms of market classification, Russell Indexes has determined that Morocco will be reclassified from emerging  to frontier market status. Cote D’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) and Senegal, both previously ineligible for Russell index membership, will be eligible to join the Russell Frontier Index. These changes will take effect at the conclusion of this year’s Russell Reconstitution,” according to a statement issued by Russell Indexes.

Several ETFs currently feature exposure to Morocco, including the Market Vectors Africa Index ETF (NYSEArca: AFK), which features a 7.1% weight to the North African nation. The WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (NasdaqGM: GULF) has a 6.3% weight to Morocco AFK and GULF. track in-house indices. Plus, those are regional ETFs, not explicit emerging or frontier funds.

Morocco accounts for 5.6% of the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSEArca: FM), the largest frontier markets ETF. TheSPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa ETF (NYSEArca: GAF) has a 2% weight to Morocco.

Russell Indexes is the third major index provider since September 2014 to demote Morocco to frontier status. In December, S&P Dow Jones Indices made the same move, which was proceeded by FTSE Group doing the same in September. [S&P Tags Morocco With Frontier Status]

Russell’s annual reconstitution will be finalized after the close of U.S. markets on June 26.


ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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