Egypt at Risk of Frontier Markets Demotion

Egypt, North Africa’s largest economy, is at risk of losing its emerging markets classification as the country’s currency reserves and overall financial health deteriorate.

“The Arab emerging market is not officially under review, but many investors believe the country’s foreign exchange woes might push organizations such as MSCI to consider downgrading it to frontier status, which could hurt its investment profile,” reports Dahlia Kholaif for the Wall Street Journal.

The Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF (NYSEArca: EGPT) is off nearly 10%. In 2013, MSCI put Egypt on watch for a possible demotion to frontier status in the wake of increased political volatility and depleted foreign currency reserves. Although EGPT recently tumbled After former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s win in the presidential election, MSCI removed Egypt from consideration for a market classification demotion. [Egypt ETF Falls After Election Results]

Last year, Russell Investments, now part of FTSE Russell demoted Egypt to frontier status. If Egypt is demoted to frontier status, it would be the first North African nation to suffer that fate. Earlier this year, Russell demoted Morocco to the frontier classification after S&P Dow Jones Indices made the same move, which was proceeded by FTSE Group doing the same in 2014.

Egyptian markets have been stuck in a rough patch after the country ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The following governments have struggled to bring back foreign investors as protests and violence increased uncertainty.