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Belgrade Stock Exchange Resumes Trading After 50-YearBreak

February 26, 1990

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ The Belgrade stock exchange, the first of its kind in Communist-ruled Yugoslavia, resumed trading today after a break of almost half a century.

″The Yugoslav Capital Market - Belgrade,″ will be the first of three stock exchanges set up in Yugoslavia this year, said Branislav Cosic, deputy manager of the new exchange. The other two will open in the northern cities of Zagreb and Ljubljana, he said, without giving a date.

The Belgrade exchange, founded by four of Yugoslavia’s largest banks, initially will handle only government bonds, but soon will start trading stocks issued by private companies, Cosic said.

In the first day, ″no bonds or stocks offered by the four founding banks were exchanged,″ Cosic said. He said today ″was just an experimental day for future activities,″ but did not elaborate on the start-up operation.

The Belgrade exchange, first established in 1886, folded in 1941, when Yugoslavia was occupied by Nazi Germany. When the Communists seized power in 1945, they banned private ownership of companies, abolished the exchange and took over its downtown Belgrade building, which now houses the ethnological museum.

The new exchange has been set up in a downtown office building.

Last year, Yugoslavia’s reformist Premier Ante Markovic announced the country’s money markets would be reopened under sweeping changes to introduce a Western-style economic system and overcome a decade-long economic slump.

Other reforms included provisions for large-scale foreign investments in the economy, freeing private enterprise and introducing Eastern Europe’s first convertible currency.

Numerous private companies established as ″stock societies″ have been marketing shares through newspaper advestisments.

″The 50-year gap is huge, we will all be starting and learning everything from scratch,″ Cosic said.

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