This will be the fifth tiny stock exchange in the Caribbean. Jamaica’s opened in 1969, followed by markets in Trinidad, Barbados and (last year) the Bahamas. Guyana, with eight public companies, also wants its own exchange. The four existing bourses have a total of 100-plus listed companies, and a market capitalisation of just over $10 billion. Trading is thin. In Trinidad, trading volume fell from 12% of market capitalisation in 1995 to 3% in 2000. Barbados has had two days this year with no trades at all.
BETTER known for bananas and beaches than for high finance, eight little islands in the eastern Caribbean plan to open a shared stock exchange by August. Based in St Kitts, the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the new Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange will be a model of international integration, with all-electronic trading and a T+1 settlement system. Any problems? Between them, the islands have only 28 public companies, and not all want a listing.