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Protesting investors demand Nepal market reforms

Companies hesitate on listing amid suspicions of Communist government's plans

A bear market has driven investors into holding vigil at the Nepal Stock Exchange. (Photo by Deepak Adhikari)

KATHMANDU -- Like most Asian stock markets, Nepal's benchmark Nepse index has tumbled this year amid rising interest rates, jitters about the U.S.-China trade war and the uncertain outlook for economic growth.

Nepalese investors, however, are not willing to wait for the market to sort itself out. Suspicious of the intentions of the country's first communist-controlled parliament, a group of stockholders this month held a hunger strike in front of the Nepal Stock Exchange for almost two weeks to demand the resignation of Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada and the implementation of promised reforms that they believe could revive a market that has fallen about 24% since the election late in 2017.

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