Burma

Trading Volume Rises on Yangon Stock Exchange

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 10 February 2017

RANGOON — Trading volume remained strong on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) in recent days despite fluctuations in some share prices.

Stock prices for the four publicly traded companies—First Myanmar Investment (FMI), Myanmar Thilawa Special Economic Zone Holdings (MTSH), Myanmar Citizens Bank (MCB), and First Private Bank (FPB)—have been shaky this week.

Both MCB and FPB have declined in value over the week. MCB’s share price dropped 200 kyats to 8,800 (US$6.39), and FPB’s price went down 4,000 kyats per share over a two-week span, finishing at 30,000 kyats ($21.79).

As of Friday, the share price of FMI had fluctuated 500 kyats, finishing the week where it started at 14,500 kyats (US$10.53). MTSH shares remained stable at 4,100 kyats ($2.98).

“Some companies’ share prices are down, and some are staying level. But we can say for sure that total trading volume has increased this week,” U Thet Htun Oo, the YSX senior manager, told The Irrawaddy.

Total trading volume for the week reached 40,000 shares, and total capital exchanged reached 600 million kyats, according to U Thet Htun Oo.

“Prices will always go up and down. That is the nature of the market,” he said. “But our trading situation is going up this week. More than 600 million kyats in trading—that is a big amount.”

“Out of the four companies on the YSX, MTSH is the favorite company right now for stock traders,” added U Thet Htun Oo.

MTSH is a conglomerate of nine Burmese companies that own 41 percent of a special economic zone (SEZ) southeast of Rangoon. The Burma government owns a further 10 percent of the SEZ, and a consortium of Japanese firms owns the remaining 49 percent.

However, Burma’s stock market is just in its beginning phase, and the small number of publicly traded companies may not attract huge interest from investors, warned economist Dr. Aung Ko Ko.

“Regulators should work to raise public awareness about the Yangon Stock Exchange. And the people need access to precise information so they can make faster trades, if we want this market to really develop,” said Dr. Aung Ko Ko.

“A lot of investors still don’t know how to invest in the stock market,” he said. “And the number of traded companies remains low. That’s also an issue.”

Investors in Burma still favor traditional investment styles, such as investing their money in gold, property, automobiles, and the US dollar market, according to Dr. Aung Ko Ko.

“If they could publicize more about the YSX stock market, if they could inform both urban and rural areas, then this market could boom soon,” he said.

“It’s the regulator’s responsibility now,” he added.

The Yangon Stock Exchange opened in December 2015 with three traded companies. On Jan. 20, FPB became the fourth traded company.

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