The Philippine Stock Exchange said it will reopen its trading floor on Monday following the easing of the Metro Manila lockdown.
It said in a statement the bourse would strictly observe health and safety guidelines for the workplace prescribed by the Inter-Agency TaskForce for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Employment once it opens the trading floor to traders.
“While our floorless or offsite trading from March 19 to May 29 has proven to be efficient and seamless, we decided to reopen and resume trading on the floor to convey a strong message to the investing public that things are back to ‘normal’ in the capital markets. Hopefully, the optics of the reopening will contribute to the restoration of the general public’s much-needed confidence in the recovery of our economy,” said PSE president and chief executive Ramon Monzon.
“The brokers who were vacated from the trading floor upon the imposition of ECQ in Metro Manila by IATF had to look for alternative sites where they could transfer their trading operations. This caused them to incur additional expenses for rental, employee board and lodging and connectivity costs. With the reopening of the trading floor, the brokers would be finally be spared from these incremental and substantial expenses,” Monzon said.
The PSE said it would do temperature checks on traders prior to entry in the floor and midway through the trading session. Traders will also be required to submit daily health declarations prior to entry.
It said that to comply with social distancing requirements, only one trader per booth would be allowed compared to two or three traders per booth before.
All persons inside the trading floor will be required to wear masks at all times and no congregation in any area within the floor will be allowed. It will also provide hand sanitizers at strategic areas on the floor and will diligently perform the disinfecting protocols.
“The above measures may be inconvenient and troublesome but we trust the traders will understand and appreciate that all these are being done to safeguard their health and well-being,” Monzon said.
The PSE will continue to observe shortened trading hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. until further notice.
“Trading hours may remain abbreviated but the PSE will do what it can as a stock market operator to support initiatives towards the country’s economic recovery,” Monzon said.
Share prices are expected move sideways this week with a downward bias, according to analysts. BDO Unibank Inc. chief investment strategist Jonathan Ravelas said the bias in the near term remains to the downside because of the continued risks and market volatility.
Ravelas said more price action was expected towards the retest of the 5,000 level over the near term. The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index climbed 5.41 percent last week to close at 5,838.84 on May 29.