In another step for the modernization of Myanmar, the country opened its stock exchange on Wednesday, but there were no stocks to trade. Meg Teckman reports.
A muted celebration in Myanmar for the opening of the Yangon Stock Exchange. However something was missing: stocks to trade. With no traders or underwriters ready to do business and no companies with approved listings, the timing seems strange. But this odd situation didn't seem to bother the bourse's chairman Maung Maung Thein. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER AND CHAIRMAN OF YANGON STOCK EXCHANGE CENTRE MAUNG MAUNG THEIN, SAYING: "It is a very monumental achievement for the capital market of our country. It doesn't necessarily mean that at the opening day, trading must start." When trading does begin, there's also no telling when foreign investors will be able to dive in as necessary laws aren't in place yet. Another hurdle is that the majority shareholder, Myanma Economic Bank, is one of the lenders on the U.S. Treasury's blacklist due to ties to the former junta. Myanmar is still coming to terms with modernization economically and politically and some believe the opening of a stock exchange may be premature. But optimistically, the exchange hopes to catch up to frontier market poster child, Vietnam, within three years. ENDS