Friday, May 06, 2005

Iraq's Stock Exchange

Baghdad is rising in the world's economic status, and the markets are taking notice. Of coarse they are not the NYSE or Dow Jones, yet, but they are coming along even through the bombings.
"Financial institutions and markets make our economy grow again," says Taha Ahmed Abdul Salam, the exchange's chief operating officer. "You can't do business unless you have good banks and good capital markets."
It is refreshing to see a new Republic use the free market principles to rise from a very long, horrific sleep.

The Baghdad Stock Exchange was heavily regulated, which is probably why it failed. It has been renamed the Iraq Stock Exchange. It reopened in June 2004 under the supervision of CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority).
...It started with 15 listed companies trading about 1 billion Iraqi dinars ($683,000) in shares daily, he says. Today, the exchange lists 89 companies and averages about $2 million in daily trading...
This is very good news. There is more:
But challenges remain. As is the case elsewhere in Iraq, security remains a key concern, he says. The exchange, open twice a week for 2½ hours a day, is purposely located on the ground floor of a small building on a nondescript side street, which can be blocked to deter car bombs.

The floor where the stocks are traded is also less than high-tech. Each listed company writes its stock deals on dry-erase boards: sales on the front, purchases on the back. A circled transaction signals a done deal. Salam says he plans to move into more high-tech digs later this year, complete with electronic trading and a network that allows brokers to trade from their offices.
Let us all hope and pray for the Iraqi people to finally have the peace they deserve. May their country be secure and our friendship be a long one.

To read the whole story, click on the title. Thank you.


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