UPDATE 3-Myanmar to set up securities exchange with Japan's help

Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:56am EDT

* Daiwa, TSE say agree with Myanmar cbank to set up exchange

* Myanmar exchange to be set up by 2015-source

* Talks on setting up an exchange been ongoing for a year

By Emi Emoto

TOKYO, April 11 (Reuters) - Myanmar will set up a security exchange with the help of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Daiwa Securities Group as the resource-rich nation hunts for foreign investors after decades of isolation.

Daiwa and the TSE announced their plans to establish an exchange with Myanmar's central bank in a statement on Wednesday.

They did not provide details but a Japanese source with knowledge of the matter said they were aiming to launch the bourse in 2015.

News of the exchange follows historic by-elections on April 1 which saw Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition party secure landslide victories, prompting moves to relax Western sanctions amid intense investor interest.

Myanmar, the TSE and Daiwa Institute of Research (DIR) plan to sign a memorandum of understanding about the establishment of the bourse in mid-May, according to the Japanese source.

The TSE and DIR said in their statement the memorandum with the Myanmar central bank would serve as the "first step" towards helping the country develop its capital markets.

But it will not be the country's first experiment with a stock market. Daiwa was also the joint venture partner in the tiny Myanmar Securities Exchange, which has only attracted two listings since its establishment in 1996.

Myanmar was in the grip of military rule for decades, but in the past year the junta has introduced reforms which have seen hundreds of political prisoners released and censorship eased.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won 43 of 45 seats contested in by-elections on April 1, dealing a major blow to the ruling military-backed party which still dominates parliament.

The United States and the European Union have said they may relax some sanctions - imposed over the past two decades in response to human rights abuses. China, a long-time ally, has called for all sanctions to be lifted.

Myanmar has shown signs of pulling back from the orbit of China, and attracting foreign investors will help the country in that endeavour as it seeks to rebuild after years of isolation.

Japan's second-biggest bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank, said it opened an office in Myanmar last Friday in expectation of increasing foreign investment, while Japanese convenience store chain Lawson Inc. said it was also planning to move there.

All Nippon Airways Co, Japan's biggest airline by passenger numbers, said on Wednesday it would resume regular flights to Myanmar for the first time in 12 years.

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