How Central Asian Stock Exchanges Work

Stock Market Reviewer
Kursiv researched the number of issuers, index dynamic and capitalization of the regional platforms

For the five republics of the Central Asian region, there are six stock exchanges. Four of them were established back in the early 1990s and two in the 2010s.


Currently, there are two stock exchanges operating in Kazakhstan at once: the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) in Almaty and the Astana International Exchange (AIX) in Nur-Sultan.

The former was established in 1993 as the Kazakhstan Interbank Currency Exchange. In the same year, the platform held its first trading in a foreign currency – the US dollar, and in 1995, its first trading in state treasury obligations and the National Bank notes. In 2000, it saw its first placements of corporate bonds.

As of September 1, 2020, KASE has 56 shareholders, the principal of which is the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan with just over 49% of voting stocks. Besides the central bank, its shareholders include various Kazakhstani financial institutes (banks and insurance companies) as well as the largest Russian stock exchange, the Moscow Exchange MICEX-RTS (MOEX) with almost 3.37% of voting shares.

By the end of August 2020, KASE-listed stock included 446 securities from 182 issuers. The largest of them form the KASE index, which reflects the change in the total market value of the most liquid shares on the exchange. Currently, those are Bank CenterCredit, KAZ Minerals, Halyk Bank, Kcell, KEGOC, Kazatomprom, Kazakhtelecom and KazTransOil. At the moment, the capitalization of the index is about $13.7 billion, while the overall stock market is evaluated at 17.7 trillion tenge, or $41.1 billion.

The KASE index has been climbing over the last three years: in 2018, it opened at 2,171 points, in 2019, at 2,303 points, and by October 8, 2020, it was at 2,428.48 points.

In September, trading volume of KASE stocks was at around 32 billion tenge, or $75.5 million. The platform also trades in currencies and government bonds; there are repo transactions as well, etc., but for the sake of comparison, only the stock trading data will be used.

The second operational stock market is the Astana International Exchange, or AIX, which was founded in 2017 as part of creating the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC).

The main difference between AIX and KASE is their regulatory framework, which for AIX is based on the norms of common, or English, law.

Notably, AIX has fewer shareholders than KASE, but all of them except the AIFC administration are foreign: those are Goldman Sachs, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Silk Road Fund and the NASDAQ Stock Market which provides the trading platform for AIX.

By early August, the official AIX-listed stock included 69 securities issued from more than 40 different issuers: for example, Kazatomprom, Halyk Bank, the Russian Polymetal, ForteBank and a subsidiary of China Construction Bank. According to open sources, capitalization of AIX-listed companies exceeds $15 billion.

In September, traded value on AIX was at slightly over $3.9 million.

The first Kazakhstani IPO was held in 2006 when the KazMunayGas Exploration Production JSC securities were placed on KASE. The shareholder managed to net $2.3 billion.


The Republican Stock Exchange «Toshkent» (UZSE) was established in April 1994, and its activities, as stated on the official website, are «closely tied to the reforms in the country and the policy of creating open joint stock companies on the basis of privatized state enterprises.» Among the shareholders of the exchange are the State Asset Management Agency with a 50% share, as well as the Korea Stock Exchange with 25% and four local banks with 6.25% shares each.

As of June 30, 2020, the overall capitalization of the stock market amounted to 51.09 trillion Uzbekistani som, or about $5.06 billion. In total, based on the results of the first six months of 2020, UZSE-listed stock included securities from 113 joint stock companies. In August, the volume of trading in securities was at 102.1 billion som, or $9.9 million. As for September, the data was not available at the time of publication. The exchange only trades in securities.

The UCI index is demonstrating a negative dynamic: in 2018, it opened at 1001.7 points, and in 2019, at 857.15 points.

As of October 8, 2020, this number was at 608.66.

In 2018, the first IPO in the history of Uzbekistan took place on the exchange: Quartz JSC, a large glass producer, placed its securities there. According to the results of the classic auction, 54% of the 4.5 million issued shares were sold for 7.5 billion som, or $937,500. As a result of the IPO, 3,305 Uzbekistanis became new shareholders of the company.


The Kyrgyz Stock Exchange (KSE) was established in 1994 and currently has 17 shareholders including KASE and the Turkish Borsa İstanbul.

Before 2018, the exchange only traded in securities, but afterwards it created a commodity sector. They trade in construction materials there, for example.

The exchange’s website did not openly provide aggregated data on the results of its operations. However, according to an interview with Abdutalip Sultanov, co-chairman of the board of directors of KSE, posted on the website, the exchange lists securities from 25 companies. By the end of the first half of 2020, the entire volume of capital markets amounted to about 35 billion Kyrgyzstani som (about $473 million at the June exchange rate).

Monthly trading volume in September was at about 681.9 million som, or $8.57 million.

The KSE index is showing sturdy growth: in early January 2018, it was at 550.93 points, but by early 2019, it was at 742.59 points. On October 8, 2020, the index closed at 917.73 points.

In September 2020, the exchange held the first IPO in the history of the country. The Salym Finance microfinance company issued preferred shares for 50 million som, or $632,900, thus fixing dividends for each security for the first three years of circulation.


Although the regulatory framework for a securities market in Tajikistan was established back in 1992, a platform for centralized securities trading, the Central Asian Stock Exchange (CASE) was only created in 2015. The shareholders include the British GMEX Group which specializes in financial market innovations and technologies. Its shareholder, in turn, is Deutsche Börse Group, one of the largest marketplace organizers in the world.

The exchange, founded in spring 2015, only opened its first trading two years later, in April 2017, when the local Bank Eskhata placed two-year corporate bonds for 20 million somoni there. At the then-exchange rate, this sum was equivalent to just over $2 million.

Prior to the creation of the stock exchange, transactions for the purchase and sale of securities of joint stock companies were registered in private books. At the same time, such deals did not pursue the goal of raising capital for business development, a CASE analytical review says. Most often, the banks made transactions with securities of the country’s National Bank or treasury bills of the Ministry of Finance.

CASE’s official website does not list quoted stocks and state bonds; it only has one item listed under obligations, so it’s not possible to outline overall market volumes.


Turkmenistan is the fifth country in the region and the most lacking in the financial market development. As open sources show, in 2016, the Ashgabat Stock Exchange was created and in 2017, it started operating. Its sole possible owner is the state, judging by the nature of the country’s economy, and its main objective is «to create a secondary securities market.»

It has been established that the exchange sells government treasury bonds, the issue of which began in late 2015. However, public information about the trading or listing of securities was not available: the stock exchange’s website was down. 


Read also