Van Eck Global has launched the Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF (EGPT), the first U.S.-based exchange-traded fund to provide focused exposure to Egypt’s economy.

According to Van Eck management, the new fund addresses a growing interest in using individual country funds to calibrate international equity allocations, particularly on the part of investors dissatisfied with existing indices.

The investment case for Egypt is a solid one.  Egypt’s real economic growth has averaged 4.9 percent annually since the start of the last decade and 6.3 percent for the three years ending December 31, 2009.  Egypt’s move to a more open, market-oriented economy has, in turn, led to expanding foreign investment, net exports, industrial development, and business formation.  The most populous Arab country and the third most populous country in Africa, Egypt is home to an increasingly diversified economy.

EGPT tracks the Market Vectors Egypt Index which measures the overall performance of companies that are domiciled and primarily listed in Egypt, or that generate a majority of their revenues in the country.  As of January 31, 2010, the Egypt Index included 28 securities and the top three holdings were Commercial International BankOrascom Construction Industries and Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (8.5%, 8.4%, 7.9% of the Index, respectively). Sectors with a greater than 10 percent weighting as of January 31 included Financials, Telecommunication Services, Industrials, and Materials.

For more ETF investing choices, see the country ETF directory.