MSCI to announce Kuwait's potential emerging markets upgrade decision in June

MSCI has already put Kuwait on its list of the indexes for a possible classification upgrade this year

Boursa Kuwait says its IPO is progressing "very well" and expects it to close oversubscribed in December 1. Reuters
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Global index compiler MSCI will announce its decision on whether to upgrade Kuwait to its emerging market classification next month, a move that will attract capital flows to the country's equities market.

MSCI, whose Emerging Market Index is tracked by investors with trillions of dollars under management, has already included Kuwait on its list of the indexes for a potential upgrade in 2019. The potential change in classification will be announced on June 25 along with the MSCI 2019 annual market classifications, MSCI said in a statement on Monday.

If upgraded, Kuwait will become the fourth country whose equities will be included in the MSCI emerging market gauge. Two UAE markets and Qatar are already part of the coveted index.

Saudi Arabia which has the largest capital market in the Arab world, won the landmark inclusion in the MSCI EM benchmark in June last year. Its inclusion paved the way for an estimated $40 billion (Dh147bn) of additional flows to the kingdom’s half a trillion dollar stock market. The phased inclusion of Saudi Arabia gives the kingdom’s stocks a representative weighting on a pro forma basis of approximately 2.6 per cent of the index with 32 securities, MSCI said in a statement at the time.

The MSCI did not say if Kuwait’s inclusion will be phased like Saudi Arabia if it wins the change in status from a frontier market to an emerging market.

Kuwait was upgraded last year in March to emerging market status by FTSE Russell, another global index compiler.

Kuwait's bourse is among the best-performing exchanges in the Arab world along with Saudi Arabia since the beginning of this year. Kuwait’s benchmark equities index has risen close to 10 per cent while Saudi Tadawull All share index is up close to 9 per cent for the period. Oman’s benchmark gauge is down more than 11 per cent.