COVID-19 thwarts Myanmar’s move to open stock market to foreigners

A boy reads a newspaper in front of the Yangon Stock Exchange center in Yangon December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The novel coronavirus outbreak has derailed Myanmar’s move to open its stock market to foreign investors.

Only two of the country’s five listed securities have attracted international traders since rules were relaxed on March 20, leaving their foreign-shareholding ratios at minimal levels. Officials had hoped to attract funds from both expatriates and non-resident foreigners.

“After two trading days when we allowed foreigners to participate on the exchange, the outbreak began in Myanmar, so the majority of expatriates rushed home,” Thet Htun Oo, executive senior manager at the Yangon Stock Exchange, said in an interview Friday.

The disease has hampered other efforts to develop the four-year-old bourse, which has struggled to gain traction in part because of complex bureaucracy. Ever Flow River Group Pcl, a logistics provider, was due to become the sixth exchange-traded company last month but delayed its listing.

The exchange was aiming to expand to at least eight listed companies by the end of 2020 and boost trading volumes in the process, but Thet Htun Oo said these goals will be harder to achieve.

First Myanmar Investment Pcl and Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Pcl attracted only a handful of trades involving international investors since March 20. The Myanpix index is down about 4% this year, and the virus outbreak threatens to extend a pattern of declining trading volumes.

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.