Since invading Ukraine, Russia has been ostensibly cut off from the global economy. In addition to multiple U.S. index providers pulling Russian stocks from their indexes at a price of “zero” or “effectively zero,” the Moscow Stock Exchange has suspended trading since the day after the invasion, February 25.
Ultimately, Russia is now no longer an investible emerging market. According to Rahul Sen Sharma, a managing partner with global index provider Indxx, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
“Will investors ever embrace Russia again? If there is no liquidity, it’s a moot point,” Sen Sharma told CNN Business. “But it’s also hard to believe that people will rush into Russia anytime soon.”
This could lead investors to look toward other emerging markets as possible replacements for Russia. Sen Sharma noted that, in addition to Taiwan and South Korea gaining more attention from emerging markets investors, Poland, Turkey, and Mexico are also options, as are the Philippines and Indonesia.
The challenge with European emerging markets, however, is that any country close to Russia and Ukraine may be considered exceedingly risky for Western investors.
Kevin T. Carter, founder and CIO of both the Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF (NYSEArca: EMQQ) and the Next Frontier Internet & Ecommerce ETF (FMQQ), recently wrote in an email to investors that Russia currently represents less than 1% of the EMQQ Index, down from 2.9% at the end of December. Meanwhile, Russia represents approximately 2% of the FMQQ index, down from 10% at the end of December.
In the EMQQ index, six of its 131 holdings have direct exposure to Russia, and in the FMQQ index, six of its 68 holdings have direct exposure to Russia. Carter added that none of the issuer’s Russian holdings trade on the Moscow Exchange, and to the best of his knowledge, none have been directly sanctioned. All EMQQ’s Russian holdings have had trading suspended.
“Our exposure to Russia is minimal and in the event of further sanctions, we will promptly comply,” wrote Carter. “We continue to monitor the situation very closely and will communicate any developments.”
FMQQ devotes 53% of its roster to South Korea, Brazil, and India.
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