UPDATE 4-Philippines exempts financial markets from coronavirus shutdown

UPDATE 4-Philippines exempts financial markets from coronavirus shutdown

Reuters  | Mar 18, 2020 02:05

UPDATE 4-Philippines exempts financial markets from coronavirus shutdown

* Stock to resume trading on Thursday after two-day
suspension
* Currency and bond trading allowed to resume as early as
Wednesday
* Tuesday's suspension designed to protect traders from
virus

(Recasts)
By Karen Lema and Tom Westbrook
MANILA/SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) - The Philippines
exempted its financial trading platforms from strict coronavirus
quarantine procedures on Tuesday, paving the way for the
resumption of trading at its stock, bond and foreign exchange
markets this week, government officials said.
The Philippines became the first country on Tuesday to close
its financial markets due to the outbreak after some bourses
around the world closed trading floors or paused trade after big
falls in market value.
The Philippine Stock Exchange said it will resume trading on
Thursday, while the currency and bond markets were allowed to
reopen as early as Wednesday, although they have yet to announce
an exact date.
"They assured the authorities that necessary safeguards to
ensure the safety of their employees and the community they
interact with are in place," the Department of Finance and
Bangko sentral ng Pilipinas said in a joint statement.
While the Philippine shutdown was prompted by health
reasons, amid a broad nationwide lockdown, it had raised the
prospect other exchanges may follow.
Global markets are in meltdown as the pandemic spreads, with
roughly $14 trillion in shareholder value erased and even safe
assets such as gold have been sold to cover losses. MKTS/GLOB
In Malaysia, where a similar lockdown comes into force on
Wednesday, the securities regulator said all capital markets
will operate as usual. Settlement of trades in Sri Lanka is due to be available on
Wednesday, though it is unclear if trade will resume before the
nation is set to return from holidays on Friday.
CME Group Inc CME.O last week shut its storied trading
floor in Chicago, to reduce large gatherings, and Mideast
bourses have taken similar measures, though electronic trade
remains available. The Philippines benchmark index .PSI fell 8% on Monday and
is down 20% for March so far, already its worst month since
October 2008, while bond prices have also collapsed. .SO
The yield on 10-year government debt PH10YT=RR , which
rises when prices fall, jumped 63 basis points on Monday, the
sharpest rise since September 2018.

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