Serbia, Lithuania are now part of Frontier Markets
Serbia and Lithuania are set to join MSCI Inc.'s stock benchmark for frontier markets. This addition may increase investment by money managers that oversee more than $3 trillion in assets.
These two countries will be added in the 19-country MSCI Frontier Markets Index after the close of stock market trading on Nov. 25. This is per a statement released on the New York-based index provider's Web site today. These countries will there be included in frontier markets exchange traded funds (ETFs).
In addition to these two countries, Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago may also gain so-called ``frontier market'' status by May 2009, according to the MSCI said. The classification of frontier markets was created by MSCI for those stock markets that have less-developed economies and less developed financial markets than emerging markets, and that typically have more restrictions on foreign stock ownership.
Ghana's stock market, the All-Share Index, is the world's best performing stock benchmark this year and it is one of only three around the world that has advanced this year in dollar terms. Amazing. Shares in this frontier country of 22.5 million, which is sandwiched between Togo and Ivory Coast, have gained 31 percent in 2008 in dollars.
The Botswana Stock Exchange's Domestic Company Index, which includes 16 companies valued at almost $4 billion, has declined 3.7 percent this year. Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana Ltd., the country's third-biggest lender and the biggest stock in the index, has gained 1.3 percent.
As a group, frontier stock markets have plummeted 45 percent this year, as the arguably the worst financial crisis since the 1930s has also hammered companies in markets typically less correlated to industrialized economies.