Myanmar Vice President Nyan Tun marked the opening ceremony of the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) by ringing a bell on Wednesday with six local campanies listed. Yet officials say it is unlikely that any trading will take place until March 2016.
Finance Minister U Win Shein said that YSX would only be open to Myanmar companies and investors at this stage, while it waits for enabling legislation to allow foreign companies and individuals to participate.
When the new Myanmar Company Law comes into effect, foreign companies, foreign ventures and foreign investor can participate in the exchange, he said.
Dr U Maung Maung Thein, the Deputy Finance Minister and head of the Myanmar Securities and Exchange Commission, said: “We will start with six public companies. Upon completion of the formalities, they will start trading in February or early March next year.”
Officials put on a positive face at the opening. Maung Maung Thein said, “We have a dream and this morning this dream has come true.”
The YSX is a project of 22 years in the making. In 1994, Daiwa and Myanmar Economics Holdings floated the stock exchange idea around, but it was far too early in the development of the country, which was in the grip of a repressive military junta.
The first public companies to be registered are First Private Bank, Myanmar Agribusiness Public Co. Ltd, Myanmar Citizens Bank, Myanmar Thilawa Public Company, First Myanmar Investment and Great Hor Kham Public Co. Ltd.
“They are the best of the best,” Maung Maung Thein said at the ceremony.
As for financial transparency in the stock market, he said transparency is fundamental and companies must comply with the rules and regulations – “transparency is emphasized.”
Officials said YSX will adopt a periodic call auction mechanism with two matchings in a day – a first order entry period from 9:30 to 11:00 and a second from 11:00 to 13:00.
Myanmar Economic Bank will lead the financial operations with assistance from Japan's Daiwa Securities and Japan Exchange Group.
Japanese Ambassador Tateshi Higuchi, Daiwa Securities president and CEO Takashi Hibino, and Japan Exchange Group Director Koichiro Miyahara also attended the ceremony.
The YSX is a joint venture between Myanmar’s Ministry of Finance, which holds a 51 percent stake. Daiwa and JPX share a 49 percent stake.
The opening of the YSX is a significant step for what was once a socialist country. Since opening up to the world, Myanmar’s economy has continued to grow at a steady pace with 8.3 percent projected in 2015.