Former pariah state Myanmar will launch its first stock exchange on Wednesday, marking the next stage in the rehabilitation of a country basking in the glow of strong foreign inflows and a new pro-business regime.
Reportedly a $24 million investment, the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) was founded by the state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank, Daiwa Securities and Japan Exchange Group, a company that operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
The launch marks yet another milestone in the rapid modernization of Myanmar, which has been opening up its economy following decades under military rule. Since Western sanctions were lifted in 2013, foreign direct investment (FDI) hit a record $8 billion during the 2014-2015 fiscal year as multinationals including Coca-Cola, Telenor, Colgate Palmolive, and Mitsubishi bet on an emerging consumer boom.
The middle-class and affluent consumer (MAC) population is expected to nearly double from 5.3 million in 2012 to 10.3 million in 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Moreover, November's general election—the first free and fair vote in decades—saw the military junta respect the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party, paving the way for structural reforms in key areas such as manufacturing and infrastructure. Back in 1990, the NLD also won a landslide election but the military annulled the results.