How Vietnam became 'Asia's new VIP stock market'

By Ha Phuong   November 3, 2016 | 02:00 am GMT+7

Vietnam's benchmark VN Index is among the best performers in Southeast Asia this year.

Vietnam's stock market has come a long way. From only five listed companies in 2000 when it was launched, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) now has 318 stocks.

This year has seen ups and downs, mostly due to changes in the sluggish global economy. But according to Vietnam's securities commission, the local stock market has performed very well, with HoSE's market capitalization now equal to a third of the country’s gross domestic output.

October in particular was a good month. The bourse's benchmark VN Index hit 688.89 on October 19, the highest since March 2008.

In a report published only a few days before that milestone, the Nikkei Asian Review called Vietnam, India and the Philippines "Asia's new VIP stock markets."

As of November 1, HoSE’s market capitalization reached $61.88 billion, marking a jump of over 20 percent compared to the last trading day of 2015.

Commenting on the outlook, Yun Hang Jin, director of emerging markets division at Korea Investment & Securities, said that the VN Index has seen growth for five consecutive years and will keep its momentum with a 12 percent year-on-year increase by the end of 2016.

Vietnam's stock market has been named among the best performers in Southeast Asia this year. And yet the country is still far behind its regional peers.

Its transition from MSCI frontier market to emerging market status, as well as foreign investment, will likely be given a much-needed boost by the government's accelerated plan to divest from some of the biggest Vietnamese companies.

The recent launch of a new index, the VNX Allshare, and the upcoming derivatives market, could also bode well.

Vietnam's market cap is now expected to hit $100 billion by the end of the year. Let's see if it can get there.

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> Vietnam's stock market outperforms ASEAN rivals