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Lesotho Planning to Open Stock Exchange Next Year, Minister Says

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lesotho is planning to open a stock exchange before the end of next year, Finance Minister Timothy Thahane said.

This follows the issue of three- and five-year government bonds last week, and treasury bills in 2008, Thahane told reporters in Maseru. It is too early to forecast how many companies will trade shares, Thato Mohasoa, spokesman for the Central Bank of Lesotho, said by phone today from Maseru.

“These developments will, in turn, pave the way for the third phase, which would be the establishment of a stock exchange,” Thahane said.

The southern African nation, surrounded by South Africa, dropped a plan to set up a stock market in 2000 because there weren’t enough big companies to join the exchange. Lesotho’s currency, the loti, is linked to the rand and its gross domestic product was about $1.3 billion in 2008, according to the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics.

Lesotho’s government issued $7.4 million of three-year bonds and $11 million of five-year bonds on Oct. 20, Thahane said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Motheolane Chakela in Maseru via Johannesburg at gbell16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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