Mechanism for Foreigners to Trade in YSX Under Way

A mechanism for foreign investors and organisations to take part in the Yangon Stock Exchange is under development, according to Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre (MSEC).

Daily stock trading in Myanmar has declined significantly and the market is sluggish. In order to revive the trading activities, a system to include non-Myanmar investors from various sectors must be developed, MSEC executive director Takashi Takahashi said.

The MSEC and the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) are in collaboration, he said during a stock exchange education talk held at Parkroyal Hotel on July 19.

“To make the Myanmar stock market active, what is necessary now is to develop a system to include investors from various sectors.

“If that system is successful, there will be more investors in the market. Right now, there is also a need to attract individual investors,” he said.

The average volume of daily stock trading in June 2016 was K313 million but it declined to merely K70 million in June 2017, resulting in a significant decrease.

Myanmar stock index, with its base point at 1000 on March 25, 2016, dropped to 552.62 on July 11, 2017.

“We can assume that the change is due to traders shunning the market as the stock prices are stagnant.

“To revive the market, it is necessary to have more listed companies and more traders,” Mr Takahashi added.

Under the existing Myanmar Companies Act, a company where a foreigner has any share is defined as a foreign company. Companies listed on the YSX have many restrictions in selling their shares to foreigners.

The government is currently working on a new Companies Act and the draft piece of legislation has been submitted to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. In the new law, a domestic company is allowed to have up to 30pc foreign investment.

“Without the participation of wealthy foreigners, domestic stock market will remain slack. An individual local investor cannot invest much.

“For foreigners to take part, the Companies Act must be amended,” Myanmar Agriculture Public (MAPCO) executive director U Ye Min Aung told The Myanmar Times.YSX,

There are only about 30,000 securities accounts opened for stock trading in the YSX. Compared to the national population, it is a very small fraction, with only 0.05pc per head. Those are accounts owned by individuals, and not organisation-based accounts.

The YSX, which was established in December 2015, only has four listed companies on board, while Laos and Cambodia have five listed ones each. In contrast, Vietnam boasts 695 companies and Thailand 731 companies.

“In other countries, foreign investors are allowed to take part. Moreover, banks and insurance firms are seen to be actively trading in the stock market,” Mr Takahashi said.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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