ASEAN Moves a Step Closer to Market Integration

13 April, 2011 | Source: Jakarta Post

Seven stock exchanges from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries have launched a new joint website promoting the region’s blue chip equities to global investors.

The website was officially launched during the ASEAN Finance Ministers meeting here on Friday, marking one step towards the association’s commitment to integrating their stock exchanges by 2015.

Members of the joint website, branded the “ASEAN Exchanges”, are Vietnam’s Hanoi Stock Exchange and Hochiminh Stock Exchange, Bursa Malaysia, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc., Singapore Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

“The whole idea is how to link more efficiently to the rest of the world. Not only intra-ASEAN, but also to the rest of the world,” Singapore Stock Exchange president Gan Seow Ann told a news conference after the launching event in Nusa Dua, Bali.

The www.aseanexchanges.org website launch was celebrated on the sidelines of the 15th ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting at the Laguna Resort and was attended by the chairman of the meeting — Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo — and seven chief executive officers (CEOs) of the member stock exchanges.

The ASEAN Exchanges website features a product called “ASEAN Stars”, which provides 210 blue chips stocks ranked by “investability” in terms of market capitalization and liquidity and made up of a selection of 30 stocks from each exchange.

“The main focus will be ASEAN’s key assets — the strength and diversity of ASEAN’s companies, some of which are the largest and most dynamic companies in the world, including leaders in the banking, finance, telecommunications, commodities and automotive industries,” Indonesia Stock Exchange president director Ito Warsito said at the event.

The 30 Indonesian stocks included in the ASEAN Stars come from various sectors, including Astra International (ASII), Adaro Energy (ADRO) Indofood Sukses Makmur (INDF) and state-owned firms such as Bank Mandiri (BMRI), Jasa Marga (JSMR) and Telekomunikasi Indonesia (TLKM).

Shares of firms from other countries promoted through the ASEAN Stars include Malaysia’s CIMB Group and Petronas, as well as Singapore’s SingTel and Wilmar International.

“Each of these 30 stocks will represent the favor of a particular exchange. Review will be done on a six-month basis in terms of liquidity, size and market capitalization,” Gan said, adding that Thomson Reuters, which has thousands of terminals worldwide, would provide market data for the website.

ASEAN had a combined market capitalization of about $1.8 trillion as of January 2011, the eighth highest in the world, with total listed firms numbering over 3,000 companies and a market of more than 538 million people.

Countries in the Southeast Asia region were among those of emerging market nations that have attracted foreign investor interests due to higher returns as interest rates in developed nations have been too low for too long given slower growth.

ASEAN member countries agreed on Friday for freer capital movement among member countries in an attempt to prepare for the planned 2015 ASEAN Economic Community, through which financial activities, including the capital market and the stock exchanges, would be linked and integrated with one and another.

CEOs of the ASEAN Exchanges members agreed that the newly launched website is the first milestone on the long journey towards achieving the ultimate goal of a linked gateway to all ASEAN markets.

Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines stock exchanges have committed to be in being the first group to establish this linkage, while exchanges in Vietnam and Indonesia are currently considering the timeframe for joining the linkage at a latter time.

 

 

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