Vienna Stock Exchange
The Vienna Stock Exchange was founded in 1771 by Maria Theresia. Known more commonly as the Wiener Börse Ag, the stock exchange is the only securities exchange and listing authority in the country. The Wiener Börse Ag was initially used for trading bonds, bills and foreign currencies but today it is used to trade stocks, bonds, derivatives, certificates, warrants and a variety of other listings. The stock exchange has come a long way since the first shares were traded in 1818 and today all trading takes place on two fully electronic trading systems – Xetra, which is used for cash, and Omex, which is used for derivatives and warrants. Both systems are designed to allow for maximum transparency and fast and efficient transactions. Investors wanting to trade futures and options can make use of the ATX and CECE indices. The performance of the various Austrian stocks can be checked through the Wiener Börse index (WBI) and the Vienna Dynamic Index (ViDX). Examples of companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange include VoestAlpine Ag, Mayr-Melnhof Karton Ag, Verbundgesellschaft Ag Kat. A, Flughafen Wien Ag (Vienna International Airport) and Raiffiesen International Bank Holding Ag.
Generally speaking, the people of the Republic of Austria enjoy a very high standard of living. The economy is that of a social market economy and while the people of the country enjoy a lot of freedom, the Austrian government has played a large role in the lives of its people since 1945. The fact that Austria is rated as the fourth richest country in the European Union is an endorsement of its economy’s success, with the Vienna Stock Exchange playing an integral role. It had a GDP of $243.3 billion in 2004 and it is currently ranked as 34th in the world in terms of GDP. Currently the services industry contributes the most to the annual GDP. In 2004, the services sector was responsible for 70.9% while the industry sector contributed 25.7% and the agriculture sector only 3.5%.
Austria also enjoys good import and export relations with countries such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the US, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and the UK. Recent years have seen as much as $83.45 billion result from exports and $81.59 billion from imports. The country’s main industries are machinery, cars and car parts, food, raw and processed wood, paper, paperboard, construction, communications, equipment and tourism.