The government says it is still committed to launching the new stock exchange on September 9, 2009, despite the global economic slowdown
Photo by: Tracey Shelton
The entrance to the Camko City construction site, where Cambodia’s stock exchange will be housed.
CAMBODIA took another step towards launching its first stock exchange Sunday with the announcement of a stock market training course for businesses.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Korean International Cooperation Agency will offer the classes starting this month and running through January 2009, Mey Vann, director of the ministry's Department of Financial Industry, told the Post Sunday.
"The stock market is a new concept for Cambodia, so it will be vital to educate potential investors. If we have a stock market and investors don't understand how it works, it will never succeed," Mey Vann said.
He said several companies have expressed interest in the classes, to be taught by lecturers from Korea's financial sector. But he added that the companies have not committed to investing in the exchange, which government officials insist will be operational by September 9, 2009.
The economic crisis has led many to question the viability of launching the stock exchange, but officials say they are confident that the project will be able to survive the downturn.
Its timing, however, is another matter.
Mey Vann was reluctant to confirm whether the market will open on time, saying only that the courses "will wrap up in January next year". He added that a survey will be conducted to gauge corporate interest in the index.
"Whether the stock market proceeds or not depends on the number of companies willing to invest in it. When the courses finish, we will be able to determine the level of interest," Mey Vann said.
He listed the global financial crisis and the lack of a physical location for the market as principal obstacles to achieving the government's timetable to open the market.
"The stock market will be located in Camko City, but construction of its headquarters has not yet begun," he said.
Kheng Ser, an assistant to the Camko City vice president, DK Kim, told the Post Sunday that construction is expected to begin early next year.
"We are expected to finish by the end of the year," Kheng Ser said. "But we have not reached a final agreement with the government" on the exchange's headquarters.
However, Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, called the 2009 start date a "pipe dream".
"Cambodia's stock market will not materialise as scheduled because the country knows nothing about a stock market," he said.
He said Cambodia lacks the human resources and expertise for a new market. "Cambodians ... will not invest their money in an exchange they don't understand," he said, adding that he didn't expect a stock market until 2012.