Syria's first-ever stock exchange formally opened on Tuesday, part of a push to encourage investment and boost the country's sluggish economy after decades of socialist-style policies.
Syria has taken some steps toward liberalizing the economy since President Bashar Assad took power in 2000. He has allowed private ownership of banks and currency exchange bureaus and relaxed restrictions on imports.
Under his father's 30-year rule, Syria had a rigid, state-controlled economy with widespread shortages of goods reported. Assad issued a decree establishing the bourse in 2006. But the official inauguration came only on Tuesday, more than a month after a tentative trial of the exchange.
A transport company and five Syrian banks were listed today on the Syrian stock exchange and apparently another 20 are expected to join before the 2009 ends. Of course, if the Syrian stock exchange ends in failure, it will be another ‘Zionist’ plot.