Baghdad's re-established stock exchange is off to a promising start. It's very early in the process: The Iraq Stock Exchange is currently open only two days a week, for only two hours a day, and for now there are only 27 firms trading. On the other hand, business is booming. On the first trading day, June 24, a total of 51 shares changed hands. Sunday (the first session open to the press), some 10 million shares were traded.
Talib Al-Tabatabaie, who heads the exchange's board of governors, took an optimistic line in interviews. "If I am permitted to dream, Iraq will develop like Japan or Korea," he told a reporter. "It needs only the effort to redevelop it again, and this will be one of the richest countries in the Middle East."