MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine bond and foreign exchange markets reopened on Wednesday, March 18, a day after being halted due to the Luzon-wide lockdown for the containment of the novel coronavirus.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) granted the trading platforms exemption from the “enhanced community quarantine” after the Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation, Philippine Dealing System, and Philippine Securities and Settlements Corporation were able to assure authorities that they can ensure the safety of employees.
The markets were closed since the IATF initially allowed only business process outsourcing firms, as well as companies in the food and medical industry, to operate.
According to the Bankers Association of the Philippines, forex trading and government securities will be settled within 9 am to 3 pm.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) will reopen on Thursday, March 19, two days after it was closed due to the lockdown.
The PSE was the very first bourse in the world to close due to the pandemic.
In an interview with Bloomberg, PSE president Ramon Monzon said the $190-billion market was closed because of “an oversight” by the government.
The closure of the bourse was controversial, with analysts saying that this further hurt investor sentiment as funds became inaccessible. (READ: Coronavirus pushes Philippine shares deeper into bear territory)
When trading resumes, it will be done off-site and not at the PSE’s building in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. The stock market will open at 9:30 am and close earlier at 1 pm.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity in the Philippines as coronavirus cases continue to rise.