Even the Wall Street Journal took note of the opening of the Cambodian Stock Market, saying, “Cambodia tapped into the growing global interest in Southeast Asia with the start of trading in the sole stock at its gleaming new stock exchange on Wednesday.” True, only one stock, Phnom Penh Water Authority was offered, but after trade began at the auspicious time of 9.09am, it traded strongly, closing 48% higher than it opened.
If you missed out on Phnom Penh Water Authority, as I did, at least two more stocks are set to be listed shortly. Telecom Cambodia and Sihanoukville Autonomous Port are the next two in line and are expected to start trading before the end of the year. I’m particularly interested in seeing what happens after the port gets an infusion of money, because it is the key to Sihanoukville’s planned future. In related news, and just to prove that they are serious about expanding port facilities, the exciting journal, Dredging Today, reports that CCCC First Harbor Engineering Wins Sihanoukville Terminal Deal for a mere $73,690,000.
Tourists who come here scratch their heads and wonder how they expect all the fancy new condominiums to be filled, mistakenly believing this is a tourist town and nothing else. Actually, there is already one Special Economic Zone out in Battrang near the airport and the new SEZ near the port is rapidly being developed. In other words, the plan is to make Sihanoukville a combined industrial, business and tourist centre. Where you have industry and business, you have executives and middle management needing homes.
The Cambodian Stock Exchange is a joint venture with the South Korean stock market. This should help investor confidence, since South Korea has been going strong for 40 years now. Yoo Jae-hoon, standing commissioner of the South Korean Financial Services Commission, told the Phnom Penh Post that it was “not surprising to see the price climb so high”, but warned that there was a risk of overheating. In order to avoid the risk of the “herd mentally” that followed the opening of the Vietnam exchange in 2006-2007, CSX chief executive Hong Sok Hour said they would be watching speculation carefully and capping daily rises and falls to 5%.
For more information about the Cambodian Stock Market, check out the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) website.