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7 June 2010

Laos Set For Capitalist Leap Into Stock Market

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Isolated for decades behind Asia’s bamboo curtain, communist Laos will soon take a great leap into the global capitalist marketplace with the debut of a stock exchange to fuel a quiet mining and hydropower boom, Reuters reports.

Government officials in one of the world’s few remaining communist countries say economic liberalization will not affect the regime’s hold on power in a country with ambitions to emulate China’s market-based authoritarianism.

But they hope the bourse, due to be opened later this year, will pull the nation of six million people out of poverty by injecting much-needed capital into the economy, in particular hydropower and mining, which are receiving a wave of foreign investment as commodity prices rebound.

“There is huge potential in development but limited sources of financing,” said Vathana Dalaloy, deputy secretary general of the country’s newly formed Securities and Exchange Commission, which is setting up the bourse as a $20-million joint venture with Korea Exchange, Asia’s fourth-largest bourse operator.



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