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Zero foreign investment in Syria’s bourse-official

The bourse opened in March last year.

September 24, 2010 9:14 by

Syria’s nascent bourse has not attracted a single non-resident foreign investor since the government allowed non-Syrians to own listed stocks a year ago, the head of the bourse said in remarks published on Thursday.

Mohammad Jleilati told the state owned Al-Thawra daily that government regulations requiring brokers to gather meticulous information on would be foreign investors have kept them away from the Damascus Stock Exchange.

“The decision (to allow foreigners) mainly benefited Palestinians who live in Syria,” Jleilati said.

The bourse opened in March last year as part of economic liberalisation started by President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his late father, Hafez al-Assad, in 2000.

The number of listed companies on the bourse has risen to 17 from 11 a year ago and the bourse now opens for four days a week, up from three days.

But the total value of shares traded daily, while up, usually does not exceed several tens of thousands of dollars.

There remains a 2 percent limit on stock price movement. Investors also have to keep any stock trading profits inside Syria for six months before they are allowed to transfer them outside the country.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis. Editing by Robert MacMillan

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