Mekong Monitor: Cambodian stock market sees first bank listing

Photo credit: B2B-Cambodia





Cambodian stock market sees first bank listing
(25 May 2020) The Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), which opened in 2011, saw its first bank listing when Acleda Bank listed on the stock market on 25 May 2020. Cambodia’s largest commercial bank became the sixth firm to join CSX, behind a garment factory, two state-owned ports, and a special economic zone. Acleda has been operating since 1993 and owns assets worth US$7.5 billion. The initial fanfare for Cambodia’s trading future has dimmed, with the country’s lack of financial literacy and a dearth of eligible companies being major obstacles. The Business Research Institute for Cambodia questioned the timing of the initial public offering in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic but Acleda’s chairman and managing director In Channy downplayed the risks of debuting on the CSX during the pandemic, saying the bank would not have listed if there had been concerns.
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Myanmar’s Mandalay region to boost national rice reserve to 5,000 tonnes
(25 May 2020) Myanmar’s Mandalay region intends to increase its national rice reserve to 5,000 tonnes for emergencies, in case the COVID-19 pandemic drags on. The region currently stores over 1,800 tonnes of rice. The Ministry of Commerce had previously announced on 22 April that it would buy and stockpile 50,000 tonnes of rice and 12,000 tonnes of palm oil as reserve food for emergencies. The ministry plans to purchase the items at a reasonable price. According to Oakkar Kyaw, Secretary of Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MRCCI), the 5,000 tonnes of rice will be stored in Kyaukse Township, Mandalay Region where the current 1,800 tonnes of rice is being stored.
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Thailand extends state of emergency until end of June 2020
(26 May 2020) The Thai government has agreed with the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) proposal that the nation-wide state of emergency is extended for another month, to the end of June. According to government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat, the government views the extension as necessary because it helps in the containment of COVID-19. She added that the state of emergency also supplements the Communicable Disease Act, which is not enough to deal effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted the extension is not politically motivated but government critics claim the special law is unnecessary now that the situation has improved significantly with single-digit daily COVID-19 infections.
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Vietnam seeking a US$679 million tax cut for small businesses
(25 May 2020) Vietnam is planning a US$679 million (15.8 trillion dong) cut in corporate income tax for small-sized enterprises in 2020 to help them overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, its Ministry of Finance announced on 25 May. For companies with annual revenue of less than US$2.1 million (50 billion dong), the ministry is planning a 30% cut in corporate income tax, pending government approval. Small-sized enterprises account for 93% of the 760,000 companies present in Vietnam, according to the ministry. Apart from small-sized enterprises, the ministry is also seeking approval from lawmakers for a US$1.6 billion (37.5 trillion dong) tax exemption for agricultural land use during the period 2021-2025.
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US announces US$3.2 million of CDC support for Laos’ COVID-19 response
(26 May 2020) The US announced on 22 May its commitment of an additional US$3.2 million in funding support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) for the prevention, preparedness, and response activities in response to COVID-19 in Laos. The resources will be used for surveillance, laboratory capacity building, infection prevention and control, community mitigation, emergency response, and vaccine preparedness. The latest assistance is part of the US’s long-term health collaboration with Laos. As part of that effort, USCDC has since 2006 supported Laos’ Ministry of Health to prepare for and respond to past outbreaks such as avian and pandemic influenza, and currently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
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About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.

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