Bhutan’s economy is one of the world’s smallest and least developed, yet it has experienced tremendous growth over recent years and is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7.9% through 2014. Bhutan’s economy is largely driven by its hydroelectricity, tourism, agriculture and forestry sectors. Bhutan’s economy has benefited from recent sub-regional economic cooperation efforts, particularly the establishment of Bilateral Free Trade Agreements between India and Bangladesh, Bhutan’s two largest trading partners. In attempts to promote continued economic expansion, the government is expected to further promote fast-growing industries that offer potential employment opportunities, particularly in tourism, financial services and information technology.
Bhutan GDP Growth Rate (%)
Bhutan - BSI Index
In 1975 Royal Insurance Corp (RICB) floated its shares to the public followed by 40,000 shares Bhutan Carbide “BCCL” in 1989 and Bhutan Board Products (BBPL) in 1991 (496,845 shares).
The Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Ltd. (RSEBL) was established on 11th October 1993 and officially opened for trading on 15th October 1993 after the government privatized 4 companies. The exchange was founded with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and is currently owned by four brokerage firms: BOB Securities, Ltd., BNB Securities Ltd., Brook Securities Ltd., and RICB Securities Ltd. In 2015 the first private brokerage firm, Drukyul Securities, was licensed and the number of brokerage companies is now 7. An automated trading system was introduced in 2012. Finally the Bhutan Stock Index (BSI) was launched on 7th February 2020.
Over the years, the total number of shareholders increased significantly. As of 31st December 2017, there were 62,066 shareholders compared to just 1,828 in 1993. The number of listed companies has also grown simultaneously from only 4 companies in 1993 (Bhutan Board Products Ltd. (BBPL), Bhutan Carbide and Chemicals Ltd. (BCCL), Penden Cement Authority Ltd. (PCAL) and Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Ltd. (RICB)) to 20 companies with a market capitalization of USD 647 million as of January 2021. Trading sessions are held from Monday to Friday. However, foreigners are currently by law not allowed to invest in the stock market.
Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Ltd. website - https://rsebl.org.bt/