(Adds comments from bourse president, context)
LIMA, May 12 (Reuters) - Index provider MSCI Inc on Thursday announced it will keep Southern Copper Corp in its Peru group rather than moving it to its U.S. securities index, a move that will likely boost Lima’s bourse.
Stripping the mining company from MSCI’s Peru Equity Universe would have left Lima’s stock exchange with just two securities considered “investable” by MSCI - under the minimum three needed for the bourse to hold on to its emerging market status.
MSCI is scheduled to decide whether to move Peru to its higher-risk frontier market index on June 14. It said last year that the bourse needed to ramp up liquidity that had been declining to remain an emerging market, which opens it to more potential investments.
“This is the news we were hoping for, and it will help us look toward June 14 more positively,” said Christian Laub, president of the Lima stock exchange.
Southern Copper, which is incorporated in the United States and has mines in Peru and Mexico, had opposed a reclassification as a U.S. security because it would have exposed it to more competition for investment dollars, Laub said.
Southern Copper declined to comment. The company is controlled by Grupo Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V..
Peru has implemented a series of reforms in a bid to stay in MSCI’s emerging market group, including a capital gains tax exemption, incentives for market makers and new rules for automated trading and short selling.
The three-month average daily trading volume on Peru’s mining-heavy stock exchange rose to $11.5 million in April from $5.5 million in December, according to the stock exchange.
Laub said he was optimistic that MSCI might upgrade other listed companies to emerging market securities, which would help the exchange’s chances of avoiding a reclassification to frontier market.
Three securities - Intercorp Financial Services Inc , Grana y Montero SAA and Volcan Compania Minera SAA - now have enough turnover on the bourse to qualify as emerging market investments, Laub said.
MSCI has classified Southern Copper as a Peruvian security despite its incorporation in the United States because its main assets and key managers are based in the Andean country.
Reporting by Mitra Taj and Ursula Scollo; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler