Plenty of international regional and single-country exchange traded funds have been hampered by tumbling oil prices and with crude futures falling below $40 per barrel for the first time since 2009, investors should reexamine how exposed their international allocations are to oil price fluctuations.
The iShares MSCI UAE Capped ETF (NasdaqGM: UAE) is one of just a small amount of single-country exchange traded funds dedicated to members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), meaning the fund is highly vulnerable to oil price shocks.
The oil-induced slides for UAE and the iShares MSCI Qatar Capped ETF (NasdaqGM: QAT) are somewhat confounding when considering neither of those ETFs are excessively weighted to the energy sector, the result of the largest oil companies in those countries being state-run enterprises that are hard to access for foreign investors. [OPEC Country ETFs hit by Oil Slide]
However, few countries depend on oil as a generator of government revenue as OPEC members and the UAE is far from immune to that theme.
A decline in UAE’s “oil revenue “may trigger further fiscal consolidation, albeit at a gradual pace, to preserve priority spending in support of non-oil growth,” Al Mansoori said at a conference in Dubai on Monday. Oil accounted for almost a third of the nation’s gross domestic product last year, government data show,” reports Bloomberg.
With oil prices sliding, there is speculation that members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which the UAE is one, could be forced to trim government spending, in the process hampering the ability of these economies to withstand lower crude prices.