Accra, July 9, GNA - The Ghana Stock Exchange registered a 98.27 per cent growth at the close of the half-year in June compared with the 49.41 per cent gain for the same period last year. The rise in GSE All-Share Index, the key measure of performance of prices listed equities on the bourse, was far above the prevailing annual interest of 16.94 per cent paid on 91-day treasury bills as at the end of June. Mr Kingsley Yamoah, Managing Director of the Exchange, said in Accra, that the high increases of share prices were the result of stable macro-economic indicators, good results posted by companies in 2003 and increased and effective demand for shares. The volume of shares traded during January-June 2004 was 31.7 million shares valued at 212 billion cedis, a fall from last year's figure of 51.4 million shares worth 256 billion cedis. Mr Yamoah explained that an exceptional huge sales by SG-SSB in the first half of last year accounted for the difference. "Hopefully, as we continue with efforts at addressing the supply side through new listings and additional issues by listed companies, fears if any, of 'overheating' expressed by some analysts can be held at bay," Mr Yamoah said. Mr Yamoah said to boost activities and reduce paper work; the Exchange was lending its full support to the Bank of Ghana's effort at establishing a national securities depository. The securities depository, he said, was essential because an automated share registration system with a centralised depository was the best way to remove the numerous bottlenecks inherent in post-trade processing. "Without that, risks associated with too much paper work and possible delays in settlement and certification can be potentially damaging to our fledging market," he said. He expressed the hope that the new Provisional Listing Guidelines, the Memorandum of Understanding with APDF and the five per cent corporate tax rebate for companies listing for the first time would help increase the number of listed companies on the bourse. "We expect that viable Government divestitures will be channelled through the Exchange not only to add colour to these ones and keep the new-found tradition going but also inherently make use of the market".