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Cambodia: Much-delayed stock exchange targets July launch

At least three SOEs expected to list; Debate over currency unresolved

The Cambodian authorities have announced that the country’s stock exchange is to launch in July this year, after a series of delays stretching back over many years. Euromoney last reported on the progress of the exchange in November 2008 (Cambodia builds stock exchange, Euromoney, November 2008), when the country’s government, in partnership with the Korea Stock Exchange, announced a September 2009 launch date. Those plans appeared to have been put on hold while Cambodia dealt with the economic fallout from the global financial crisis, including a severe slowdown in the critical garments sector and rapidly rising inflation. Now, however, Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX) is due to launch in July this year, and while local sources doubt that any companies will be ready to list by this date, there could be a debut issue later in the year.

"At this point," writes Graeme Cunningham of Cambodia Capital in a research note, "based on our conversations with those involved in the process, we believe that the market may officially open in July 2011, but that it could be later in Q3/11 before we see significant trading activity."

There is a precedent for this, Cunningham says, in the form of the Laos stock exchange, which officially opened in October 2010 but did not begin trading until three months later.

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