Open but not trading: Myanmar launches fledgling bourse

YANGON: Myanmar officially launched its first modern stock exchange on Wednesday, but without a single stock to trade until next year, as the nation’s latest drive for economic revitalisation struggles to take flight.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party swept elections last month, boosting confidence in the former junta-run nation’s reforms, which have also creaked open the door to its reclusive economy.

The bourse opened with the clanging of a large ceremonial bell on Wednesday, marking an ambitious new stage in the nation’s efforts to ignite investment.

“We have a dream and this morning this dream has come true,” said Maung Maung Thein, head of Myanmar’s Securities and Exchange Commission, in an opening speech at the newly restored colonial-era building housing the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX).

He said six Myanmar firms had been approved to list on a market tipped to be “instrumental to the growth of our economy”.

Those companies, which include the Japan-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone and First Myanmar Investment run by Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun, “will be going into the annals of our history”, he added.

But they will have to wait until February or March to begin trading, after delays in confirming underwriters pushed back the timeframe for initial public offerings.



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