Philippine Stock Exchange seeks lockdown exemptions in order to resume trading

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 07:10 PM

Philippine Stock Exchange seeks lockdown exemptions in order to resume trading 1
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) building at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. February 18, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Select employees of brokerage firms should be given permission to travel to and from their work places in order to resume trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange, its president said Tuesday. 

A position paper asking for travel exemptions during the Luzon-wide lockdown has been submitted to COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), PSE president and CEO Ramon Monzon told ANC.

Exemptions from the lockdown is essential so that staff needed for clearing and settlement will "be able travel throughout the day," he said.

"The position paper will explain to the IATF why the extended closure for the market would be very bad not only for the capital markets but even for the country in general. I hope they can take up our request and reconsider our decision," Monzon told ANC.

"We need a broker community to be able to operate we need them to be able to clear and settle and more importantly to get their back office. If they can’t get to their offices, they won’t able to get the clearing settlement requirements," he added.

The PSE will be closing the trading floor "to eliminate concern" and will be working with a small workforce to ensure compliance with the government's lockdown directives, he said.

The PSE, which halted trading Tuesday, is the only exchange that closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monzon said. China, Singapore, Italy, and Iran remained open "even at the height of the crisis in their country," he said. 

Schools, offices and businesses were ordered shut Tuesday after Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under lockdown to contain COVID-19. Only essential services including supermarkets, banks and hospitals were allowed to operate.