Philippine shares dive at resumption of trading, as COVID-19 rattles world markets

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2020 10:26 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2020 10:29 AM

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) building at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- Philippine shares fell on the resumption of trading Thursday, tracking the decline in world markets as policy action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the global economy failed to halt the running selloff.

Trading was halted shortly after the Philippine Stock Exchange reopened at 9:30 a.m. after the main index breached the 10-percent decline required to trigger a "circuit breaker."

At 10 a.m., the PSE Index or PSEi was down nearly 18 percent to 4,378.72. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' Monetary Board will meet later Thursday and Governor Benjamin Diokno is expected to deliver at least a 25-basis point cut in the benchmark interest rate.

The decline was expected according to PSE President Ramon Monzon, who told ANC's Market Edge that talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission were ongoing to institute a series of circuit breakers and other measures to aid the market.

Trading was suspended for 2 days as the Philippines was placed under a state of national calamity with Luzon island, home to half the population, under lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The trading floor is closed and transactions are made remotely from Thursday in support of the enhanced community quarantine that requires people to stay at home and limits transportation to essential goods and frontliners.