Burma opened the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) today, with the first six listed companies announced.
Most of the 10 securities firms with conditional licences for trading and underwriting are not yet ready to operate, and when local companies do meet requirements to sell shares, foreign investors will not be allowed to buy them. That means trading on the YSX will at first be a wholly local affair.
The first six public companies to trade shares are: First Myanmar Investment Co., Ltd. (FMI); First Private Bank Ltd; Myanmar Citizens Bank Ltd; Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Ltd; Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation Ltd and Golden Land Public Company Ltd.
During the opening ceremony Union Minister of Finance Win Sein said the opening was part of an effort to prepare Burma’s financial sector.
“The Yangon Stock Exchange shall be initially operated with the Myanmar citizens-owned business companies and Myanmar investors only. But when the new Myanmar company law comes into effect, foreign companies, joint ventures and foreign investors will have the opportunity to participate in this,” Win Sein said.
“In conclusion, the Yangon Stock Exchange is the market that will provide an impetus to the effective development of the market-oriented economy by encouraging and supporting the capital market accessory for the emerging national economy and it’s sustained development,” he added.
Like much of Burma’s economy, the new electronic market has received Japanese expertise in setting up, with Tokyo bourse operator Japan Exchange Group and Daiwa Securities Group holding a combined 49 percent stake in the exchange.
Burma’s military ceded power to a semi-civilian government in 2011, triggering a broad liberalisation of its fledgling economy that has attracted interest from foreign investors drawn by its 51 million population and largely untapped agriculture, mining and energy resources.
The private sector has, from a low base, thrived under the new political order, with speedy advances in sectors such as banking, tourism, textiles and construction, all of which are booming.
The YSX will technically be the second bourse after the barely known Myanmar Securities Exchange Center, for which share prices of the two listed firms were hand-written on a whiteboard for most of its 19 years of operation.
It is unclear whether or not this over-the-counter market will still operate once the new exchange starts trading.
Read more about the Burmese economy here.