Egypt bourse facing crucial index review
London, March 19, 2011
Egypt must reopen its stock exchange by next Thursday to avoid the risk of exclusion from MSCI's emerging markets index, but any change to the closely followed benchmark would not be immediate, an executive from the index provider said.
"March 24 will not be a date when anything drastic will happen to Egypt with the index. There will not be an automatic delisting or exclusion of Egypt from the index on that day," Dimitris Melas, executive director in Research at MSCI, said.
MSCI will instead start consultations with investors to review Egypt's inclusion within its emerging markets index if share trading in the country remains suspended past that date, Melas said.
The stock exchange needs to reopen within 40 business days of its January 28 suspension to avoid an MSCI review.
Egyptian stocks have fallen 21 per cent since the start of the year, pummelled by popular protests that ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
Since assuming the reins, Egypt's interim government has moved to blunt the impact of a possible share fall when trading resumes.
It has approved regulatory changes to ease margin calls and is also working to compensate small domestic investors caught out by any collapse in share prices.
But even after the bourse resumes trading, Egypt needs to demonstrate enough liquidity and an absence of trading impediments for it to remain on the benchmark, Melas said.
Egypt's market capitalisation stood at $17 billion as of January 20 and represents 0.4 per cent of the nearly $4 trillion value of the MSCI emerging markets index.