Trading which began in late June was higher on the first day than at anytime previously for the old Baghdad Stock Exchange under Saddam’s rule.
“Once trading is fully underway, the potential for growth is huge,” said the exchange’s chief executive Ahmed Taha. “There is a lot of interest in this exchange. At the moment the Iraqi economy is weak but it has a huge potential to grow.” he said. “I don’t want to be over optimistic but I think we will become larger than other exchanges in the region. However, this will take time so we are taking things step-by-step.”
The exchange is the result of more than a year’s work by over a dozen brokerage firms and banks that jointly own it. New companies want to list and the exchange is in the process of considering several.
Over a 50 person staff runs the exchange, a modest staff for a financial institution. “This stock exchange is going to help the Iraqi economy recover because it encourages people to invest money. I was surprised by the level of interest on our first day and hope this will continue.” said the manager of the trading department, Jammy Afham.
On it’s first day, June 24, more than 500 million shares were traded, more than the Baghdad Stock Exchange ever achieved. “It is just like anywhere else in the world, people want to buy and sell shares.” said the exchange’s chief executive Ahmed Taha. “We want to open up to foreign companies and hopefully this will happen in the next couple of months.” Taha said.