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UAE ETF Surges Ahead of MSCI Upgrade


Shares of the newly minted iShares MSCI UAE Capped ETF (UAE) are soaring 4.5% on volume that is already more than six times the daily average ahead of the nation’s promotion to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Ahead of the emerging markets promotion, which was announced almost a year ago, trading volumes in the United Arab Emirates surged in local currency terms. On Thursday, volume in Dubai was about double the daily average while stocks in Abu Dhabi turned over at nearly quadruple the usual pace with traders primarily focusing on the UAE stocks that will be added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, reports Andy Staples for Gulf News.

Qatar and UAE are the first Middle East countries to be promoted by MSCI to emerging markets status from the frontier markets designation.

Earlier this week, the iShares MSCI Qatar Capped ETF (QAT) surged on news the Gulf Cooperation Council member state boosted foreign ownership limits for Doha-listed stocks. [Qatar ETF Soars After Ownership Limits Increased]

Earlier this month, MSCI approved 10 Qatari for admittance into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, including several of the largest Qatari banks. QAT allocates over 56% of its weight to the financial services sector.

QAT and UAE debuted on May and the latter has already accumulated almost $29.5 million in assets under management. [Qatar, UAE ETFs Debut Ahead of MSCI Promotion]

Nine UAE stocks are slated to join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, the underlying benchmark for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) , the second-largest emerging markets ETF by assets.

Among those names is Emaar Properties, by far UAE’s largest holding at a weight of 14%. Aldar Properties, UAE’s second-largest holding at 9.5%, will also join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. So will Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank. Those stocks combine for over 21% of UAE’s weight, according to iShares data.

Qatar and UAE officially join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index on May 30, but for investors in the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (FM) will not immediately lose exposure to the two countries that currently combine for 38% of that ETF’s weight.

The plan to move Qatar and UAE out of FM is gradual and pragmatic, including seven tranches of reducing exposure to those countries lasting through November, iShares told ETF Trends in an interview earlier this month. [Frontier Changes Could Produce a Better ETF]

iShares MSCI UAE Capped ETF Sector Weights


Chart Courtesy: iShares