ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Global credit crunch may delay debut of Cambodia bourse
With global markets in turmoil, business leaders say the much-anticipated launch of the Cambodian stock exchange could slide back by up to a year, reported Cambodian daily the Phnom Penh Post.
"Before the crisis hit, we had some doubts over whether the market would be able to launch [on time]. Now [the crisis] adds to the problems," said In Channy, CEO of Acleda Bank, in an interview with the Post last week.
The exchange was scheduled to start trading by 2009 under an agreement with Korea Exchange signed September 2007.
Initial progress was encouraging with Cambodian lawmakers debating and passing a 69-page securities law within a week of the deal being inked.
But with the global financial turmoil slowly spreading to Korea, China and Japan, liquidity has evaporated as investors flee equities.
The second biggest lender in Cambodia, Acleda, was among the first major companies to say they wanted to be listed and had specific capital expansion plans. But the bank's CEO now says that while the company fully supports the stock exchange in principle, current market conditions may delay the launch.
"Perhaps it will take until 2010," said In Channy.
Even before the crisis hit Asia, the nascent stock exchange had encountered a string of problems.
Cambodia's first agency to assess the value of corporate assets opened earlier this month, but business figures were skeptical the new body will be able to establish sufficient nationwide transparency in time to meet the 2009 deadline.