Macedonian Stock Exchange
The Macedonian Stock Exchange was founded in 1995 as a place where securities could be traded from a central location. It started trading officially on 28 March 1996 and is Macedonia’s first organized stock exchange. When it was founded, the MSE was a non-profit joint stock company. It took only 500 000 Euros to start and current legislation prevented anything other than banks and other financial institutions from being co-founders. Initially, the MSE had nineteen founding members. This all changed in 1997 when a new law was passed that only allowed legal entities that traded solely in securities to be members. This again changed in 2000 when a new law allowed both banks and brokers to become MSE members as long as they were properly licensed and authorized.
Today the MSE has fourteen members which are a mixture of both brokers and banks. The MSE started to operate on a for-profit basis in 2001 and shareholders can be any domestic or foreign entity that is completely legal. Some examples of companies on theMacedonia Stock Exchange are Alkaloid Skopje, Granit Skopje, EMO Ohrid, Investbanka Skopje and KIB Kumanovo. Macedonia has not always enjoyed the relatively good economy that it has today. When Yugoslavia broke up in 1991, Macedonia was its poorest republic. Economic growth continued to be hindered until about 1996 when changes in infrastructure, sanctions and support started to bring about a number of positive changes. Since this time, the country’s GDP has risen steadily almost every year. Some of the biggest growth occurred in 2000 with successful privatization of a number of industries. The country has also made strides with regard to economic reform, regional integration and free trade which has further improved trade and trade relations. This is vital since Macedonia relies on outside sources for its oil, gas and modern machinery.
Currently Macedonia’s GDP is only about $16.91 billion, but with a 4% growth rate, this is likely to continue to improve. The country’s services sector is the largest, contributing roughly 59.3% of the country’s annual revenue. The industry sector plays the second biggest role at 27.7% and the agricultural sector is fairly large at 13%. Macedonia currently has quite a large unemployment rate with 35% of it’s people being unemployed. In addition to this, roughly 28% live below the poverty line. Macedonia’s main industries are chromium, lead, zinc and ferronickel production as well as textiles, wood products, coal and tobacco. Exports are still relatively small, accounting for only about $2.341 in 2006 while imports are somewhat better, amounting to $3.631 billion in the same year. Macedonia’s main trade partners are Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia and Bulgaria.