Trades on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) plunged in 2020, according to its annual report. Only MMK 12.6 billion worth of shares were traded, a drop of nearly MMK 800 million from the previous year.
The downturn came despite a sixth company, Everflow River Group, being added to the bourse earlier this year and a seventh in the last days of 2020 (AMATA Holding). That development came amid promising growth in 2019 and early 2020. Activity peaked in February with MMK 1.48 billion worth of trades for the month, and in March, new rule changes allowed foreigners to make trades. But as the COVID-19 pandemic hit both Myanmar’s economy and global markets, interest from local investors and foreigners (many of whom had exited the country) dwindled. With a MMK 552.9 million worth of trades, November — the peak of Myanmar’s second wave of confirmed cases — was YSX’s worst month of 2020 and an all-time low for the exchange.
Despite the downturn, the Securities and Exchange Commission is continuing to develop and promote the exchange. In September of last year, it announced a potential second exchange for Myanmar: A pre-listing board for publicly-traded companies that do not yet qualify for the normal YSX. (In Myanmar, a company may register as “public” even though it does not qualify for listing on the public exchange.)