LONDON, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Time for an end of year quiz. Which emerging and frontier market countries were the best stock performers in dollar terms?
Nil points if you said China, with its colossal internal market, recession-free Poland, or oil-rich Nigeria.
In fact, bottom of the class if you said anything outside southeastern Europe.
The winners (in index compiler MSCI’s emerging and frontier leagues) are: politically torn Bulgaria (frontier) and - take a deep breath - depression-wracked Greece (emerging).
Greece re-joined MSCI’s emerging markets index in November after being downgraded from developed market. But the twice-bailed-out euro zone member has seen returns rise by more than 50 percent this year - coming from a very low level but also boosted by fund managers positioning for the index reshuffle
Second in the league, though a long way behind, is Egypt, which has benefited from $12 billion in handouts from Middle Eastern neighbours following the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
Bringing up the rear of the table is Peru, which has suffered from lower mineral prices, and close behind is Turkey, which is currently suffering a second round of political unrest for the year.
Bulgaria played catch-up this year after lagging many frontier and emerging markets last year on worries about banking and trade links with bordering Greece.
Returns on the MSCI Bulgaria index are up 98 percent in 2013, outstripping the United Arab Emirates, which has benefited from financial services and its safe haven status in a conflict-ridden region, alongside its energy resources.
Bottom of the table is Ukraine, which took a $15 billion bailout from Russia this month in an attempt to stave off devaluation and default.