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Cambodia’s only stock plummets, shares sold off

Cambodia’s only stock plummets, shares sold off

In another record-breaking low point, shares of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority dipped under 5,000 riel by market’s close yesterday, while one investor sold off some 25,000 shares.

The price drop came amid heightened tensions in Phnom Penh. Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers followed through on promises to abstain from attending the inaugural session of the National Assembly after their demands for an investigation into alleged irregularities during the July 28 poll weren’t met. Ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers attended the opening.

Security forces, local authorities and riot police hunkered down on street corners or manned steel and razor-wire barricades, a presence that choked local businesses and raised concern among investors.

According to data from the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), the water supply authority’s price declined 4.35 per cent yesterday to 4,840 riel, down from 5,060 riel at closing on Friday.

Soleil Lamun, deputy director of the market operations department at the CSX, blamed the prices – which first inched downward weeks ago and have continued to fall ever since – on the lack of investor confidence brought on by an uneasy political climate.

“This morning placed more of a burden on PPWSA prices that were already slowing because of the political deadlock,” Lamun said yesterday. What’s worse, “only one foreign investor sold the stock at the lowest price, and it made him or her lose a lot of money – this makes our market look not so good”.

“I think this person might be concerned about the political issue, but they could just urgently need the money – I am not sure,” he added.

He said that even though the price sank to new depths – shares closed at 9,300 riel when PPWSA went public last year – the fact that a sale was made shows that investors are still interested.

Kuy Vat, chairman of underwriter Phnom Penh Securities, agreed that the political stalemate sapped market confidence.

“Of course, the investors are concerned about our political issues, so they will not focus on the stock,” he said.

The water authority issued some 13 million shares to the public in 2012.

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