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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  February 2011

Indonesia could be left out of regional link

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Stock exchanges in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand want to set up trading links between their markets and hope to have cross-border dealing in all listed shares by the end of 2011.

Indonesia, the region's largest economy, looks likely to be left on the sidelines, though.

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations want to establish an economic community modeled on the European Union by 2015 and the market venture will support one of its aims, allowing capital to move more freely between states.

The exchanges have now completed a study for the technological framework for the Asean Trading Link, they said in a statement.

"The Asean Trading Link aims to electronically interconnect the participating markets and facilitate cross-border order trading seamlessly," it said.

The exchanges of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, have a combined capitalization of about $2.4 trillion and were the darlings of emerging market investors last year.

Experts in Indonesia remain skeptical about joining their neighbors in the venture, though. Ito Warsito, director of the Indonesia Stock Exchange, said problems still needed to be addressed.

"The Indonesia Stock Exchange still needs to improve our system and technology in our trading floor," he said. "The IDX still thinks the trading regulations in Asean need to be harmonized. There should be a clear and common platform in the trading regulations in the Asean linkage. Identical regulations are not necessary, but it should have a common ground of what is allowed and not allowed in all markets."

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