Yangon – Foreigners living in Myanmar will be allowed to buy and sell on the Yangon Stock Exchange in the first phase of the process of opening up to the international market, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM).
The Ministry of Finance and Planning announced an opening up in July but after discussing its concerns with the Central Bank of Myanmar, Internal Revenue Department and other ministries, the SECM has decided to start with foreign nationals living in Myanmar, commission member U Htay Chun told The Irrawaddy.
“As we have allowed this, we had to consider the money foreigners would bring in and the profits they will take out. So we will start with foreign nationals living in Myanmar rather than all the foreigners,” U Htay Chun said.
The SECM has sought the approval of the Attorney General’s Office to legalize foreign trading on the stock exchange with approval expected by around December, he added.
Securities companies and the stock exchange had prepared for foreign traders, said U Thet Tun Oo, manager of the stock exchange.
“Public interest in the stock market has increased significantly with the transaction volumes rising,” he said.
The new companies law allows up to 35 percent of foreign ownership in domestic companies. Listed companies in Yangon can sell up to 35 percent of their shares to foreigners, according to the stock exchange.
Trading started in March 2015 with only five listed companies. The lack of trading options has led to a fall in trading and prices.
U Aung Gyi, chief executive of Myanmar Agro Exchange, which is preparing to float on the stock exchange, told The Irrawaddy: “People don’t have much experience with stock trading. So I hope the market will improve when foreigners enter it.”
First Myanmar Investment Co. Ltd (FMI), Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Ltd (MTSH), Myanmar Citizens Bank Ltd (MCB), First Private Bank Ltd (FPB) and TMH Telecom Public Co. Ltd are currently trading.
On Oct. 17, the price of FMI stood at 11,500 kyats; MTSH 4,000 kyats; MCB 8,400 kyats; FPB 24,000 and TMH 3,000 kyats.