Croatia, Macedonia and Bulgaria link their stock exchanges

CThe Bulgarian stock exchange joined the Macedonian and Croatian stock exchanges in forming a joint company based in Skopje. [AFP]

Croatia, Macedonia and Bulgaria link their stock exchanges

Experts say closer ties will increase the flow of capital in the Balkans.

A decision by Macedonia, Bulgaria and Croatia to link their stock exchanges is expected to make their work more efficient and attract more capital to the region. The three stock markets established a joint company based in Skopje with the hopes that other stock exchanges in the region will also join.

"The idea is to create a common platform that will enable redirection of the trading orders from the Zagreb and Sofia stock exchanges to the Macedonian stock exchange and vice versa," Ivan Shteriev, chief executive officer of the Macedonian stock exchange in Skopje, told SETimes.

"We believe regional securities that way will increase their attractiveness in the Balkans and beyond."

Shteriev said mostly domestic investors have so far traded stocks, and enabling institutional networking with other regional markets has become a priority.

The move will create a direct channel through which brokers will monitor what happens in other stock markets and will increase investors' interest, which used to be dependent on collaboration among brokers, he added.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will finance the purchasing of software that will link the stock markets and create a common website. The move will increase liquidity and increase the visibility and attractiveness of the three capital markets, said Sanda Kuhtic Nalis, spokeswoman for the Zagreb Stock Exchange.

"Consolidation of the capital markets is an inevitable trend. Investors are looking for simplicity, and fragmentation of the regional capital markets is certainly an aggravating circumstance,"...

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