14 Feb 2011

Pressure on Canberra for ASX merger approval

7:11 am on 14 February 2011

Growing consolidation among the world's stock exchanges is adding to pressure on Canberra to approve a proposed merger between the Australian and Singapore exchanges.

Stock exchanges are getting bigger. Last week, exchanges in New York and Germany confirmed they are in advanced negotiations on a merger. As well, the London and Canadian exchanges are combing forces.

In this part of the world, Singapore and Australia are proposing to merge, but But Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says this is far from a done deal.

Singapore proposes to buy the Australian Securities Exchange for nearly $A8 billion, pointing to the usual arguments about greater synergies and leveraging Australia to Asian growth.

But Radio New Zealand's correspondent says the deal is a political hot potato, given the heavy hand of the state in Singapore.

The decision is ultimately up to Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan, but he's under pressure from independents who control the balance of power in the parliament to block it altogether.