Equity index provider MSCI on Tuesday lowered European Union member Greece to emerging market from developed market status, citing failure to qualify on several criteria for market accessibility.
In a long-awaited move, MSCI did raise Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to emerging market status from frontier market classification.
Morocco's classification was lowered to frontier market from emerging market status. The firm said Morocco has failed to meet liquidity requirements for several years and a downtrend has shown no sign of reversal.
Qatar and UAE reclassifications will coincide with the May 2014 semiannual index review while the lowering of both Greece and Morocco will coincide with the November 2013 semiannual index review, MSCI said.
In addition to the country reviews, MSCI said it would start examining China A-shares for potential inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
The firm was quick to point out that initiating a discussion does not indicate any China A-shares have already met the standards of accessibility for inclusion in the benchmark index.
However the significant size of this market and possible further regulatory reforms in the short term mean MSCI believes "it is important to actively engage with the international investment community on this matter."
South Korea and Taiwan remain on review for reclassification to developed market status from their current emerging market position.
Both country indices remain with shortcomings for market accessibility, MSCI said.