The international financial crisis slowed Egypt’s growth, but the country’s economy is beginning to pick up its pace. Now Egypt has its very own exchange traded fund so you can play along at home.
Market Vectors, already a first mover with several of their single-country funds, has done it again by launching a new ETF Thursday aimed at the Egyptian economy, the Market Vectors Egypt Index (NYSEARCA:EGPT). The largest sector allocation in the fund is financials, with a 42.4% weighting, followed by telecommunications (17.3%), industrials (15.9%) and materials (14.2%).
The fund’s heaviest weighting is in mid-caps, with 52.9% of the total allocation. Small-caps make up 27.3% of the fund, and large-caps are 19.8%.
The time for an ETF aimed at Egypt could be just right. According to Economic Development Minister Osman Mohamed Osman, Egypt’s economy saw its fastest grow spurt in more than a year in the fourth quarter as tourism expanded 13%, construction 11.5%, manufacturing 5.2%, telecommunication 12.8%, energy and mining 5.6% and wholesale and retail 5%, report Abdel Latif Wahba and Alaa Shahine for BusinessWeek.
The economy grew a better-than-expected 5.1% in the fourth quarter. Osman now estimates that the economy may grow more than 5% in the fiscal year through June. The government plans to spend $2 billion to help support the economy, with most of it going into infrastructure projects.
The Egyptian Central Bank has kept overnight interest rates on hold since current levels are supporting the economy’s recovery and inflation is within its “comfort zone.”
The financial downturn affected Egypt’s export-oriented sectors like manufacturing and tourism, which slowed the country’s GDP growth to 4.5% in 2009, according to the CIA World Factbook. The government will need to restart economic reforms to bring in foreign investment, boost growth and improve economic conditions for its citizens.
The unemployment rate stood at 9.7% by the end of 2009. Inflation topped off at 10.1%.
Max Chen contributed to this article.