MSCI Barra Launches Equity Indices for the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Leading provider of international benchmarks creates 17 new indices to help investors evaluate investment opportunities in the Gulf region.

Geneva —

MSCI Barra, a leading provider of benchmark indices and risk management analytics products, announced today the launch of 17 new equity indices for countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). These countries are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Two index series have been created, one reflecting the investment restrictions applied to a GCC-based investor and the other reflecting the restrictions applied to a domestic investor.

Due to the investment restrictions currently in place in each of these countries, MSCI Barra does not plan to add any of these countries to the MSCI Emerging Markets IndexSM. Saudi Arabia is completely closed to international investors, and the other five countries are only partially open to international investors.

Khalid Ghayur, Managing Director and Global Head of Research at MSCI Barra said, "The region's capital markets have become quite sizeable - we estimate the full market capitalization of these equity markets to be around USD 1 trillion, based on November 30, 2005 data. We have consulted with multiple market participants, in the region and globally, and, as a result of their feedback, we are now pleased to be launching representative indices for the GCC region that can serve both as benchmarks and as the basis for financial products."

As the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman currently apply identical investment restrictions to GCC-based investors as they do to international investors, the MSCI GCC Countries ex Saudi Arabia IndexSM can be used as a proxy for the region by international investors.

The new indices will be available to clients and through major vendors, starting on January 24, 2006. Price and DTR indices will be computed on a daily basis.

The stock exchanges of the GCC countries are all open on Sunday and, for some of the largest of these markets, also on Saturday. MSCI Barra will not be calculating the new indices on Saturday and Sunday initially, but will provide the share price performance for those days beginning in the second quarter of 2006.

About the MSCI GCC Countries Indices

MSCI will be calculating the following new indices:

  • 6 domestic country indices, based on conditions relevant to domestic investors and using (1)Domestic Inclusion Factors (DIFs)

     

     

      SM

       

      - MSCI United Arab Emirates Domestic IndexSM

      - MSCI Kuwait Domestic IndexSM

      - MSCI Qatar Domestic IndexSM

      - MSCI Bahrain Domestic IndexSM

      - MSCI Oman Domestic IndexSM

       

  • 6 country indices based on conditions relevant to GCC investors, using (1)Foreign Inclusion Factors (FIFs) reflecting the Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) applicable to GCC-based investors:

     

     

      SM

       

      - MSCI United Arab Emirates IndexSM

      - MSCI Kuwait IndexSM

      - MSCI Qatar IndexSM

      - MSCI Bahrain IndexSM

      - MSCI Oman IndexSM

       

  • 5 regional indices:

     

     

      SM

       

      - MSCI GCC Countries ex Saudi Arabia IndexSM

      - MSCI Jordan, Egypt & Morocco IndexSM, being the aggregate of the existing MSCI Jordan IndexSM, the MSCI Egypt IndexSM and the MSCI Morocco IndexSM

      - MSCI Arabian Markets IndexSM (MSCI GCC Countries Index + MSCI Jordan, Egypt & Morocco Index)

      - MSCI Arabian Markets ex Saudi Arabia IndexSM

       

(1) The Domestic Inclusion Factor (DIF) reflects the free float available to domestic investors. The Foreign Inclusion Factor (FIF) reflects the free float available to GCC-based investors.

 

For further information on the MSCI GCC Countries Indices, please visit our web site at www.msci.com/gcc/index.html.

About MSCI Barra

MSCI (www.msci.com) develops and maintains equity, fixed income, multi-asset class, REIT and hedge fund indices that serve as the benchmark for an estimated USD 3 trillion on a worldwide basis. In 2004 MSCI acquired Barra, Inc. ("Barra"). Barra analytics (www.barra.com) help the world's largest investors analyze, measure and manage portfolio and firm-wide investment risk. MSCI Barra is headquartered in New York, with research and commercial offices around the world. Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, asset management, and credit services, is the majority shareholder of MSCI, and Capital Group International, Inc. is the minority shareholder. MSCI Barra is a service mark of Morgan Stanley Capital International Inc. ("MSCI" or "MSCI Barra").

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For further information on MSCI indices or MSCI data, please visit our web site at www.msci.com or for Barra products, please visit our web site at www.barra.com.

For media enquiries please contact:
Ben Curson/Clare Rowsell, Penrose Financial, London   + 44 20 7786 4888
Ann Taylor Reed/Sam Hollander, Abernathy MacGregor, New York   + 1 212 371 5999
MSCI Barra Global Client Service:
Dorsey Horowitz, MSCI Barra, New York   + 1 212 762 5790
Aatish Suchak, MSCI Barra, London   + 44 20 7425 6660
Sarah Chan, MSCI Barra, Hong Kong   + 852 2848 6740
Masao Ikeda, MSCI Barra, Tokyo   + 813 5424 5470


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