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Mon 28 May 2007 11:31 PM

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Jordan to build $70m financial centre

King lays foundation stone for new centre which aims to boost local and foreign investments.

Jordan plans to build a new financial centre in the capital Amman to boost local and foreign investment in its capital markets, officials said on Monday.

Jordan's King Abdullah laid the foundation stone for the new centre close to the current Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) on Monday. The centre, which will include the exchange, will cost an estimated 50 million dinar ($70 million) and house brokerage and bank offices with fully automated trading systems.

"It will help enhance the investment climate in the Jordanian capital markets as a regional centre and find an attractive and safe environment according to the best international practices," said Bassam al-Saket, the head of Jordan Securities Commission (JSC).

Jordan's bourse, with a market capitalisation of over 23 billion dinars ($32.4 billion), has over 100 listed companies. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership with over 46 percent of the equity of listed firms owned by non-Jordanians.

The Amman stock exchange has attracted billions of dollars of Arab Gulf funds in recent years, encouraged by the country's accelerated free market reforms.

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