Regional SEs Dying A Natural Death

New Delhi: | Updated: Aug 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Several attempts to infuse life into the deserted regional stock exchanges have come a cropper. As the age-old badla system lies buried, and the stock market is bifurcated into cash and speculative segments, trading on these ill-equipped regional bourses has come to a naught.

The sorry state of affairs comes out clearly in the latest data available with the finance ministry. Of the 19 regional stock exchanges, there was hardly any business in as many as 15, since the year beginning July 2001.

Stock exchanges like Bangalore, Ludhiana, Pune, Hyderabad, Madras, Vadodara, Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore, Madhya Pradesh, Magadh, Jaipur, Mangalore, Cochin, Guwahati and Saurashtra & Kutch were the worst hit during the period. So much so that stock exchanges, like Vadodara, Bhubneswar, Coimatore, Madhya Pradesh, Magadh, Jaipur, Mangalore, Saurashtra & Kutch, Cochin and Guwahati have been showing zero or negligible business since April 2001.

Although the Bangalore bourse recorded a small turnover of Rs 26.62 crore in April 2001, Rs 23.9 crore in May 2001 and Rs 16.94 crore in June 2001, the exchange has since been in a state of hibernation. To make things worse, there has been no transaction on the exchange since February 2002.

Delhi, once one of the biggest small exchanges, has been regularly hitting the headlines about the non-viability of the bourse. Although the exchange pulled out all stops to revive trading and even tried to merge with the Bombay Stock Exchange, nothing has so far gone in favour of the fast-sinking bourse. While the exchange showed a monthly turnover in the range of Rs 1,178 to Rs 1,663 crore between April 2001 to June 2001, business plunged to Rs 484 crore in July 2001. Since then, trading activity has been declining, hitting a low of Rs 80 lakh in June 2002.

Once a den of the badla market, Calcutta is another regional exchange which has seen a sharp erosion in business. But it is yet to die a natural death. Known as Lyons Range, the Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE) had recorded a turnover of Rs 4,554 crore in April 2001, Since then, it has more or less been on a downward journey. The business hit a low of Rs 956 crore in March 2002, Rs 945 crore in April 2002, Rs 807 crore in May 2002 and Rs 601 crore in June 2002.

The Inter-connected Stock Exchange of India (ICSE), which is a conglomeration of regional bourses, has also so far failed to break the jinx. The Over The Counter Exchange of India, formed to list small companies, is yet another disappointment.

Strangely, the Uttar Pradesh Stock Exchange has proved to be an aberration among the regional stock exchanges.

The northern stock exchange recorded a turnover of Rs 1,367 crore in April 2001, and trading hovered around the same level till June 2001. In the following month, although trading touched a low of Rs 320 crore, its monthly business rose steadily to touch a whopping Rs 13,214 crore in February 2002. In March, however, the turnover dipped to almost Rs 773 crore, and in April recovered to Rs 1,400 crore. The bourse recorded a turnover of Rs 1,272 crore in June 2002, which was the highest among all the regional exchanges.

Ahmedabad, which is known for its investment culture, is the other exchange which has shown its survival instinct.

In April 2001, the bourse witnessed a turnover of almost Rs 1,944 crore, and in June 2002, it did a business of around Rs 1,063 crore.

One reason for the absence of trading interest in these regional bourses is the subsidiaries that have been created by 17 regional exchanges to trade on the Stock Exchange, Mumbai and the National Stock Exchange.