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Hong Kong Stock Market Reports Record Listings In 2002

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

27 December 2002

Reporting on stock-market activity in 2002, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) says there were a record 117 new listings during the year, 60 to the main market and 57 to GEM, the junior market. HK$108bn was raised through IPOs and secondary issues during the year, more than double last year's tally, which was however severely depressed by poor economic conditions.

The market's success in attracting new listings might seem strange when set against trading turnover levels, which were actually 20% down on 2001; but the explanation is that most new listings were by mainland Chinese companies desperate to raise capital to underpin their rapidly expanding businesses - capital which cannot be raised on China's own feeble markets.

HKEx chief executive Kwong Ki-chi said: "Mainland state and privately-owned enterprises have an urgent need to raise funds through listings to expand their businesses. Many of them want to come to Hong Kong as it can be easier to tap international investors' money in the SAR than listing on a mainland stock exchange."

However, low trading levels mean that HKEx has been forced to halt or postpone many market improvements, and led it to threaten removal of brokers' minimum commission levels, provoking a storm of protest from suffering brokerages. The total number of trading participants actually fell during the year from 492 to 471, highlighting the pressures on traders during depressed conditions.

Mr Kwong said that the listings pipeline remained full, with more than 100 companies currently being processed. He said that the market's capitalisation of US$460bn puts it in ninth place worldwide, after New York, Tokyo, Nasdaq, London, Euronext, Germany, Switzerland, and Toronto.

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