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Egypt ETF still open for business

Niall McGee reports

The only U.S-listed ETF tracking the Egyptian stock market, the Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF (EGPT-N) is still trading despite that market being closed.  

I talked to Ed Lopez, marketing director with Van Eck, the ETF sponsor. He says the ETF is still trading because Van Eck can figure out the net asset value even with the underlying market being closed.  

Here’s how.  

Twenty-three percent of the stock portfolio is inter-listed on other exchanges, so those stocks can be accurately priced. For the remaining 77 percent that trade only in Egypt, the stocks are priced based on an estimation of what they would be trading at if the market was open. Similar to how the futures market works to price stock market indexes, when markets are closed.  

Not an exact science. But “many people have opinions” (on the value of a stock) is how Lopez put it.  

But the Egypt ETF isn’t trading exactly as it normally would. Yesterday Van Eck suspended the creation of new units. Lopez says under normal circumstances new units are issued when institutional investors want to buy a block of stock (e.g. 50,000 units). Investors can still buy and sell in the secondary market but the float can’t increase.  

Lopez says when the stock market reopens in Egypt the fund will once again be able to issue new units.

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