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Cambodian bourse set for next July ‘at any cost’

CAMBODIA’S stock exchange will launch by next July “at any cost”, the third scheduled start date for the much-anticipated bourse.

A statement from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, received by the Post yesterday, said the Cambodia Securities Exchange had been postponed until next year.

Trading was set to begin at the end of this year, after the initial deadline was missed in 2009. However, the exchange has yet to be licensed, and its slated home at Phnom Penh’s Camko City has yet to be built.

“The postponement of the CSX is to adapt to the evolution of the global economic and financial situation, which shows some positive signs of recovery but is still fragile,” the government release said.

“With the approval from the two countries’ [Cambodia and South Korea] prime ministers, CSX will be launched by July 2011 – at any cost.”

The decision was announced after Cambodian Finance Minister Keat Chhon met privately with Chin Dong-Soo, Chairman of South Korea’s financial services commission, and officials of the Korean Exchange last week at an International Monetary Fund conference in Daejeon, South Korea.

At the sidelines of the conference, the minister told reporters that the exchange was set to be postponed, but he declined to detail a timeframe.
Officials and public-sector representatives alike are now taking stock of the latest announcement.

For the Korean Exchange, which holds a 45 percent interest in the CSX, building public belief around the bourse in Cambodia is key.

“We will have further time to prepare. The most important thing is public confidence,” Inpyo Lee, project director of the Korean Exchange, said yesterday.

He said laws and regulations relevant to the stock market were almost in place, and that an operating licence application could be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia in the next month.

Bretton Sciaroni, chairman of the International Business Club, an association that includes most multinationals operating in Cambodia, said yesterday that the delay would provide more time to create a healthy stock market.

“It is not an easy task,” he said. “If you want a right stock market with public confidence it takes time to prepare all the proper rules and regulations. I am happy as long as the stock market has been done in the right way.”

Ming Bankosal, director general of the SECC, Mey Vann, director of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, and Hong Sok Hour, director general of CSX, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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