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IFC EXPANDS MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA INDEX COVERAGE


Brigid Janssen
Phone: (202) 458-4698
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: bjanssen@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 31, 1999 - The International Finance Corporation will add Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon and Namibia to its indexes of emerging market stock markets, bringing IFC's index coverage to 54 emerging markets, effective Sept. 3.
Bahrain and Oman will be included on the IFC Global Index (IFCG) series which is calculated daily and measures performance of the most active stocks on local stock exchanges, even if stocks are unavailable to foreign investors. The IFCG daily Global index is designed to be the broadest possible indicator of market movements.
Lebanon and Namibia will be part of the IFCG Frontier Index series which is calculated monthly and covers smaller, less liquid markets. The coverage objectives of the Frontier series are identical to those of the IFC daily Global series.
The IFCG Bahrain Index has 15 constituents covering approximately US$5.1 billion of market capitalization at current prices, before IFC makes adjustments to eliminate cross-ownership and government holdings. The IFCG Oman Index has 34 index constituents with approximately $3.5 billion in market capitalization before adjustments. The Frontier Index for Lebanon has five index constituents and covers approximately $1.4 billion in market capitalization. Namibia has nine constituents with about $370 million in market capitalization.
The IFCG Bahrain and Oman Indexes will initially be calculated on a stand-alone basis. On November 3, 1999, the two markets will be added to the IFCG Composite Index as well as to the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regional indexes. Both the IFCG Bahrain and the IFCG Oman Indexes have a base date of December 31, 1998.
The IFCG Frontier indexes for Lebanon and Namibia will be calculated monthly and indexes for both countries will be added to the Frontier Composite Index late in 1999. The base date for the new Frontier Indexes is also December 31, 1998.
Peter Wall, head of IFC's Emerging Markets Data Base, said the addition of Bahrain, Oman, and Lebanon to the IFCG Index series would enrich IFC's current coverage of the Middle East region, and would make its regional indexes popular benchmarks. IFC already has indexes for Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.
IFC has developed several well-known series of indexes for investors interested in stock markets in developing countries. Along with the global IFCG and the Frontier indexes, the IFC Investable (IFCI) Index series measures returns foreign portfolio investors might receive from those stocks that are available to foreign investors. IFCI and IFCG Indexes are calculated on a daily basis and Frontier Indexes are calculated monthly.
Through its Emerging Markets Data Base unit, IFC provides comprehensive, reliable statistics on emerging stock market performance with the goal of stimulating the flow of private capital to emerging markets. It is the world's leading publisher of equity performance data for developing countries.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people's lives. It fosters economic growth by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
For more information about the IFC Indexes, contact IFC's Emerging Markets Data Base at (202) 473-9520, e-mail emdb@ifc.org, or check IFC's website www.ifc.org/EMDB.