Washington, 19 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Romania has become the first country in Eastern and Central Europe to open a computer-based stock exchange.
American officials who helped set up the system, called RASDAQ, say it will have 3,000 companies listed by the end of January.
At a press conference in Washington yesterday to announce the formal opening, the President of the U.S. computerized trading market NASDAQ, Albert Berkley, said that in preliminary tests over the last five weeks, more than 1,300 newly privatized Romanian firms listed more than 1,300 million shares for trading with RASDAQ.
He said that by the end of last week more than five million Romanian shareholders were active on the market, trading almost 1,500 million shares worth more than 790 million lei. Romanian citizens can trade shares on the new market at the offices of more than 90 securities dealers/brokers throughout the country who have been cleared to participate. Dozens more will be added soon, officials say.
The RASDAQ market was organized under a $23 million capital development project by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with extensive technical assistance from the Washington-based NASDAQ system.
The RASDAQ is completely separate from the fledgling Bucharest stock exchange, which according to Romanian officials, has about 13 companies whose shares are traded on a regular physical trading floor.