Coronavirus worries sink Philippine shares the most since 2008 financial crisis


Posted at Mar 12 2020 03:04 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2020 08:05 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Philippine shares sank 10 percent on Thursday, a steep decline not seen since the 2008 financial crisis as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worries investors.

Trading was halted shortly before the market closed, after the decline exceeded the 10-percent "circuit breaker." The Philippine Stock Exchange Index was down 10.33 percent to 5,697.13.

It was the steepest drop since Oct. 27, 2008 and the lowest level since 2013, based on Bloomberg data. The index ended 9.7 percent lower to 5,736.

President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a test for COVID-19 after he attended an event with a confirmed patient. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, who was in the same event, will go on self-quarantine along with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

The index's next support level is at 5,200 while its next resistance level is at 6,300 said Angel Pacis, president of KnowledgeLinks Wealth Solutions.

Peter Lundgreen, founding CEO of Lundgreen's Capital, said he sees no reason for the sell off.

"My general take on the market is that we have seen an overreaction in the stock markets so far," Lundgreen said in an interview with ANC's Market Edge.

Pacis said the market's movements are being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is unpredictable.

"We need to be able to contain this virus as well. Again, the key question for investors is, basically, how far will this affect companies? This is what the stocks are reflecting right now," BDO Unibank chief investment strategist Jonas Ravelas said.

Pacis, meanwhile, said that while the ongoing stock rout was reminiscent of the 2008 global financial crisis, there were crucial differences between today's situation and the stock market crash then.

"Fundamentally and structurally, I think we're in a much better position right now," Pacis told ANC.

She said that unlike during the 2008 financial crisis, the government is now in a much better position. Pacis said the Philippines has leeway to do monetary stimulus, and the government already has an aggressive spending package.

"This virus, economic virus, if you may call it that, is actually now attacking a much healthier patient," Pacis said.

Other markets in the region also saw sharp declines.

Tokyo ended down 4.4 percent, putting it in a bear market after falling more than 20 percent from a recent high, while Sydney lost 7.4 percent in the ASX 200's worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

Hong Kong fell 3.7 percent, though Shanghai was off 1.5 percent as China continues to see infection rates slow.

Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta lost more than 3 percent, Mumbai tanked more than 6 percent and Wellington slid 5 percent while Taipei retreated 4.3 percent.

- With a report from Agence France-Presse