Vietnam exchange may miss trading hours deadline, official says

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Vietnam may miss a planned Feb. 20 deadline to begin extended trading hours on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange as it's still waiting for ministerial approval, State Securities Commission Chairman Vu Bang said Thursday.

"We may have to delay it for one or a few weeks as we are still waiting for final approval," Bang said. "Once we get it, we will implement the plan as an experimental program for a few months to see if it's effective."

Southeast Asia's second-smallest exchange by market capitalization after Laos wants to add an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to the existing 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. trading day, Nguyen Duy Phong, an analyst from ACB Securities, said on Aug. 11, citing a document sent to the company by the bourse.

Bang said all technical issues related to the extension had been addressed and the only concern is that "liquidity in the market is low" and the extension may not increase trading volumes as much as expected.

The benchmark VN Index slumped 27 percent last year, the most among Asian benchmark gauges, as the government raised interest rates to cool inflation. The measure has rallied 13 percent this year, closing 0.7 percent lower on Thursday at 397.41.

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