MSCI Argentina Index will not be reclassified to Emerging Markets status, at least until 2018, as investors expressed concerns that the recently implemented market accessibility improvements, including the removal of capital controls and FX restrictions, needed to remain in place for a longer time period to be deemed irreversible.
MSCI said in a press release that "although the Argentinian equity market meets most of the accessibility criteria for Emerging Markets, the irreversibility of the relatively recent changes still remains to be assessed."
This decision hurt the Argentinean stock exchange and forex position. Argentine stocks also receded on Wall Street, state oil company YPF was particularly affected. According to Jonatan Kon Oppel, Director at Inversiones y Gestión "the decision to keep Argentina under review as an emerging market makes it clear that while the country managed to make important changes in economic policy, the sustainability of these changes is so important As the policies themselves." The analyst added that "there is little time left for the elections and the government still lacks seats in Congress to make the structural changes it needs."
In the Meantime, the MSCI approval of China A-shares inclusion in their benchmark Emerging Markets and ACWI indices is likely to redefine the way investors invest in emerging markets. Howie Li, CEO, Canvas at ETF Securities, one of the world’s leading, independent providers of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs), mentioned that the investment landscape for emerging markets is now confirmed to change with the inclusion of China A-shares into MSCI’s Emerging Market benchmark, given demand for domestic Chinese equities is likely to increase.
Analysts at Allianz GI expect around USD 20bn of inflows as a result of this index change. "This is less than half a day’s trading volume on China A share markets. The longer-term implications are probably more significant, as this USD 7 trillion market cap opportunity becomes increasingly accessible to global investors. Inclusion in widely-followed global indexes means that an investment in China A shares moves from off-benchmark (and therefore can be easily ignored) to an active asset allocation decision. As the weight in indexes increases over time – as has been the experience in other emerging markets – then increasingly China A shares are likely to become too big to ignore for much longer."