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Snafu halts HCMC stock exchange   2008-05-28 - Bloomberg,TN

Trading on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange halted Tuesday due to “sudden technical problems,” said the market regulator.




“Our technicians have been working on this and trying to fix the problems,” Bloomberg quoted Le Nhi Nang, an executive vice president at the exchange, as saying Tuesday.

“Right now, we are not sure when trading can resume.”

“Our staff working on the exchange’s trading floor called us early this morning and said they couldn’t send any trading orders at all,” Hoang Thach Lan, chief analyst of Ho Chi Minh City-based SME Securities Co., told Bloomberg.

“The system is down.”

Trading results from before 8:53 a.m. would be disregarded, the exchange said in a statement sent to securities companies, asking them to alert investors.

Trading on the exchange normally starts at 8:30 a.m. and lasts three hours.

The exchange last year was forced to abandon regular trading on February 2’s morning session because of a technical problem.

A special afternoon session was added that day to ensure trading wasn’t canceled altogether.

The VN-Index has slumped 20 percent over the past 16 sessions as investors worry about worsening inflation.

It has lost 55 percent this year and was ranked by Bloomberg as the world’s worst performing stock exchange this year.

Consumer prices have jumped 25.2 percent in May from a year earlier.

Prices in the food category including rice jumped 67.8 percent in May from a year earlier and 22.2 percent from April, it said.

City traders have braced for worse inflation as the government will let go of its gasoline price controls next month.

“A hike in gasoline prices will hurt local companies’ earnings,” a dealer said.

He also added that gold price increases and deposit interest rate spikes showed that investors had become less inclined to buy shares on the stock exchange.

Banks in Vietnam raised deposit rates on May 19 to about 14 percent from 12 percent, after the central bank increased the base rate to 12 percent to rein in inflation.

Loan rates at some Vietnamese banks rose to as much as 18 percent, the maximum permitted, from an average of 16 percent.

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