MANILA -- Philippine financial markets extended losses on Friday due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, as Metro Manila braced for a 1-month long community quarantine.
Trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange was temporarily halted after the benchmark fell by 10 percent for the second straight day. The peso declined for the third straight day.
The PSEi was down 6.46 percent to 5,365.59 before 11 a.m. The peso weakened to P51.25 to the dollar from Thursday's close of P50.85.
Fear in the financial markets appear "disproportionate to the actual damage" from COVID-19, said Regina Capital managing director Alvin Limlingan.
"I think the underlying medical threats have a potential to cause a financial crisis but I don’t think we’re there yet. Having said that, there is no excuse to be complacent," he said. "Banking is healthy, market is functioning properly."
Passenger travel to and from Metro Manila will be restricted from March 15 to April 14 and social distancing will be observed in public areas and public transport. Schools were shut and employers were urged to allow work from home.