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Markets

Myanmar bourse seeks shot in the arm from overseas investors

Yangon Stock Exchange expected to allow stakes of up to 35% within months

Only five companies are listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange.   © Reuters

YANGON -- Myanmar will let foreign individuals and companies invest in the Yangon Stock Exchange, looking to breathe new life into the nation's lone bourse.

The Southeast Asian country's Securities and Exchange Commission issued the notice on Friday. Foreign investors will be permitted to hold stakes totaling up to 35% in companies trading in Yangon. No concrete start date was given, but market watchers expect such trading to open by the end of the year.

Two to three months likely will be needed for authorities to draw up detailed regulations and for brokerages to adjust their systems, a source familiar with the matter said.

"If foreign investors jump-start the exchange, stock prices will go up," a Myanmar investor said.

Japan's Daiwa Securities Group is creating a venture capital fund in Myanmar. Daiwa will help startups debut on the Yangon bourse through a brokerage the company formed with a local state-owned bank.

The Yangon Stock Exchange opened in December 2015 through joint investments from Myanma Economic Bank, Daiwa Research Institute and the Japan Exchange Group. Five companies are listed there, and daily trading volume averaged just 46 million kyat ($30,000) over the past year.

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