The Philippines suspended trade on its local stock exchange Tuesday, becoming the first country to close its financial market over coronavirus fears.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered most of the 55 million people on the main island of Luzon, which includes the capital Manila, to stay at home for the next month after social distancing measures failed to keep people away from one another.
Philippine Stock Exchange President Ramon Monzon told traders in a memo that trading is suspended starting Tuesday “until further notice” to move in step with Duterte’s order.
Monzon said the suspension was also “to ensure the safety of employees and traders in light of the escalating cases of the coronavirus disease”.
The suspension order came as stock markets and oil prices went into freefall after central banks’ fresh stimulus measures failed to dampen fears of the global pandemic.
Overnight, Wall Street indices fell in their worst day since 1987, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropping about 12 percent and the Dow sinking nearly 13 percent.