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|Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX)|
سوق العراق للأوراق المالية
|Location||Karrada, Baghdad, Iraq|
|Key people||Taha Ahmad al-Rubaie
The Iraq Stock Exchange was incorporated and began operations in June 2004. It operates under the oversight of the Iraq Securities Commission, an independent commission modeled after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. June Reed is an American adviser to the stock exchange.
Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was called the Baghdad Stock Exchange and was operated by the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. Now it is a self-regulated organization similar to the New York Stock Exchange, owned by the 50 or so member brokerages.
As of 2005, the ISX was Iraq's only stock exchange. It opened in 2004 with 15 companies, and now lists more than 100 companies. Turnover of shares in 2005 was approximately $5 million USD per trading session. Major stocks included Bank of Baghdad, Baghdad Soft Drinks Co, Iraqi Tufted Carpets Co, Hader Marble, and Altherar Agriculture.
That changed in February 2009, when for the first time since it was launched in the mid-1990s, the Iraq Stock Exchange announced that it would have a computerized system to show the movement of shares. Iraqi Exchange and Securities Commission Chairman Abdul-Razzak al-Saadi said that the new system would replace two blackboards that are manned by personnel using chalk to record all changes. Al-Saadi said a $7 million grant from international donors enabled the stock exchange to buy the electronic system.
In 2006 92 trading sessions were held (an average of 2 per week), 57 billion shares were traded (at a value of 146 billion dinars), and 38,000 trades were consummated. The trading floor is currently open six hours a week: Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
The ISX opened to foreign investors on August 2, 2007. The market is dominated by a handful of wealthy Iraqis, many of whom live outside the country and call in their orders by phone to brokers, says Taha Abdul Salam, the exchange's CEO. Foreign investors in late 2008 accounted for less than 20% of activity.
On April 19, 2009, the ISX switched to electronic trading. Currently, only five companies are available for electronic trading, but more will be added over the next few months.
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