How does unrest in Egypt, Tunisia impact investor sentiment?

on January 28 2011 3:04 PM

Richard C. Kang, chief investment officer & director of research at Emerging Global Advisors spoke to IB Times about the political unrest in North Africa and implications for investors

IBTIMES: From a purely investment perspective, does the rising unrest in Middle Eastern/North African countries like Tunisia and Egypt scare away investors, or does it provide a way to enter these markets, since equity prices there have dropped recently?

KANG: Not many investors have interest in this area. [They are] probably not educated enough to understand these markets. Those who do invest there are likely quite sophisticated or are professional investors (pensions, hedge funds, etc.). So I don’t think many are actually scared by recent events.

IB TIMES: How do you classify the markets/economy of Egypt and Tunisia? Are they emerging markets? Frontier?

KANG: Egypt is an emerging market. Tunisia is a frontier market.

IBTIMES: Does Egypt and Tunisia have well-regulated stock markets? Have they been receiving any interest from western investors in recent years?

KANG: Egypt has a small number of big companies that investors generally know (like Orascom), but overall the vast majority of investors know little of investing in these countries or the MENA [Middle Eastern and North African] region overall.

IBTIMES: Generally speaking, does news of political unrest in countries like this hurt other developing countries?

KANG: I don’t think so. I think political unrest matters more in the BRICs since that’s where a lot of the emerging market investing money has been headed. Other large markets like Mexico and Indonesia would have to be included in that list as well.

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