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Wed 31 Oct 2007 12:00 PM

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Palestinian bourse to expand offering

PSE plans to create over-the-counter market for smaller firms, launch range of financial instruments.

The Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) is to create an over-the-counter (OTC) market for smaller companies and may soon offer trading in other financial instruments, the head of the exchange told Arabian Banking and Finance on Tuesday.

Any company in the Palestinian territories that wishes to go public must list on the PSE, but smaller firms tend not to be included on the main exchange.

“Currently we have 75 companies listed. We are targeting 10 more companies to be listed in the next few months," said Hasan Abu-Libdeh, Executive Chairman and CEO of the PSE.

“We are now preparing to create the so-called over-the-counter market because some of the companies will not qualify to be listed on our stock exchange.”

Currently, the exchange only lists securities, but Abu-Libdeh suggested that it could soon offer trading in other financial instruments.

“It will be only a matter of time before we start looking into derivatives. We are now considering exchange traded funds (ETFs) and so on,” he said.

“We are entertaining a lot of options for the near future, but it all hinges on what happens to the political process because if the political process doesn’t really give us the breathing room we need it will be difficult to generate the necessary investment.”

Abu-Libdeh said that he expects to complete the initial public offering (IPO) of the PSE’s operating company on the exchange by the end of this year. The IPO had been planned for mid-2007.

Around $1.2 million of shares were traded on the PSE on Tuesday, and the exchange’s benchmark, the Al Quds index, closed up 0.98%.

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