Dubai Financial Market on Wednesday welcomed the decision to upgrade UAE bourses to emerging markets status, saying the move was "overdue".
The decision by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) was hailed as a "significant step" by Essa Kazim, managing director and CEO, Dubai Financial Market.
In a statement, he said: "This significant step evidently demonstrates international institutions' recognition of DFM's pivotal role over the last thre years to further enhance the UAE market infrastructure.
"This development is overdue in light of the market infrastructure improvements made and ticking of all upgrade requirements a long time ago."
The upgrade could lead to up to $800m flowing into the Gulf states’ capital markets. MSCI’s market assessments are followed by investors with approximately $7trn worth of assets.
UAE markets surged in early trade on Wednesday following the upgrade.
Kazim added: "We are delighted to see the UAE market upgraded to Emerging Markets status, which reflects international investors' confidence in our markets and their satisfaction with what we have accomplished.
"The reignited interest of local and foreign investors towards DFM since the beginning of the year underlines that what we have implemented caters to investors' expectations and the attractiveness of UAE market to foreign investments."
DFM is among the best performing exchanges globally since the beginning of the year with its market index up by almost 50 percent.
The average daily trading value also increased 67 percent to AED460m compared to the corresponding period of 2012.