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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  April 2011

Asean bourse web site kicks off

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Seven stock exchanges from six Asean countries have joined together to launch a new investment portal aimed at promoting Southeast Asia among international institutional investors.

The web site, formally launched yesterday to coincide with the Asean Finance Ministers' meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali, will serve as an investment gateway for the bourses in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The portal will include information about each of the seven exchanges, including clearing and settlement systems, key market indices, investor news and roadshow schedules.

Veerathai Santiprabhob, the chief strategy officer at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said the web site would play a role in marketing Asean as an investment alternative to the larger markets of China and India.

Asean bourses have combined market capitalisation of US$1.8 trillion and represent more than 3,000 companies.

The website will also feature information on the Asean Stars, a group of 210 regional stocks comprising the top 30 stocks in each of the seven participating exchanges.

Investors seeking a position in Asean assets but lacking the time to research individual stocks may turn to exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

But Dr Veerathai said Asean ETFs were typically based on market capitalisation, which puts Thai companies at a disadvantage relative to, say, larger-cap firms in Singapore.

In contrast, the Asean Stars are selected based on the largest companies in each individual market. Dr. Veerathai said Asean Stars would also benefit Asean Linkage as it tries to integrate Southeast Asia's capital markets as a single entity.

Investors now interested in the 210 Asean Stars must open a securities account with a broker in the jurisdiction of interest. However, Dr Veerathai said that once the Asean Linkage programme is running, someone could invest in, say, a Malaysian or Singaporean stock through a brokerage account in Thailand.

The Asean Linkage will kick off this year starting with the Thai, Philippine, Malaysian and Singaporean exchanges.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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