Stock Market Guide to the Ljubljana Stock Exchange
Established in 1989, the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) is Slovenia's main stock and bond exchange corporation. The LJSE has the distinction of being the first stock exchange to be established in a socialist country – it beat Belgrade for the title by just one day. This stock exchange corporation could only be created after two new federal laws had been approved since old Yugoslavian regulations did not facilitate it. As of yet, the LJSE is still a small player on the global stock market though it is hoped that large strides forward will be made in the near future. Over the years the LJSE has been able to enhance the level of transparency of trading on the official market. It has also enabled the Slovenian capital market to achieve many of the stock market standards that are enjoyed on an international scale. In June 2008, LJSE was bought by the Vienna Stock Exchange, but continues to operate independently. Some examples of companies trading on the Ljublijana Stock Exchange include Gorenje DD, InterEuropa DD, Istrabenz DD, Nova Mesto and Mercator DD.
Despite previous economic hardships under the socialist government, Slovenia now enjoys both prosperity and stability. It also has quite a high GDP per capita when compared to other central European countries undergoing similar political transitions – in fact it is regarded as being one of the most prosperous countries in transitional Europe. Factors that contribute to this success include a well-educated and productive work force and good political and economic institutions. The country currently trains mainly with Western European countries such as Germany, Italy, France and Austria. The country is very dependent on foreign trade and the exports and imports combined make up about 120% of the GDP. While the country’s open policies make it sensitive to economic conditions, it has managed to maintain a good growth rate – even achieving a 3% GDP growth rate when the rest of Europe struggled with an economic slowdown.
Currently Slovenia’s GDP is about $35.21 billion and it is estimated that it will enjoys a 4% GDP growth rate in subsequent years. The services sector is the biggest GDP contributor at 60.3% while the manufacturing sector contributes 36.9% to the GDP and the agriculture sector a mere 2.8%. Unemployment is relatively low at 6.3% and the small number of those living below the poverty line is steadily decreasing. Slovenia’s main industries are lead and zinc smelting, electronics, trucks, electric power equipment, textiles, wood products, chemicals, machine tools, ferrous metallurgy and aluminum product production. Exports currently result in more than $18.50 billion a year while imports reach $19.62 billion a year. Judging by past performance, Slovenia is likely to continue seeing economic improvements in the years to come, with the Ljubljana Stock Exchange playing a crucial role in the economy.