With just five stocks listed on Yangon, Myanmar sets out to launch second exchange

Photo: Bloomberg

Myanmar plans to set up a second board next year that foreigners can trade on to bolster its moribund stock market.

Listing rules for the alternative venue will be less strict than on the Yangon Stock Exchange’s main market, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar said. The three-year-old main index has only five stocks and little trading, stoking skepticism about the nation’s ability to foster a vibrant equity culture.

“Our main target isn’t to compete with, but to complement, the Yangon Stock Exchange,” Htay Chun, a commissioner at the securities agency, said in an interview Wednesday in Yangon.

Officials view deeper capital markets as key for faster economic growth. But efforts to attract investors have been hurt by a number of factors, ranging from regulatory hurdles to condemnation of Myanmar for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.

The new board could be up and running by the third quarter of 2020, Htay Chun said. The goal is to have more than 10 companies on it and to allow foreigners to trade from day one, he said.

“The Yangon Stock Exchange’s listing criteria are so strict that many companies don’t meet the minimum standards,” Htay Chun said. More than 250 firms are potential candidates for the alternative market, which could be a stepping stone to listing on the main index, he said.

Trading slump

Foreigners may be allowed to trade on the main exchange in the first half of next year, potentially beginning with expatriate permanent residents, he said.

The move could boost total trading value on the Yangon Stock Exchange’s existing Myanpix index, which slumped 81% to 14 billion kyat ($9 million) last year compared with 2016.

Companies have to meet 17 criteria to be eligible for the existing bourse, such as being profitable for at least two years and having a minimum of 100 shareholders. Htay Chun didn’t specify the criteria for the new stock market.

The World Bank expects Myanmar’s economic expansion to climb toward 7% by 2022. About a third of the population lives in poverty, adding pressure on de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to accelerate reforms.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.