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Philippines shuts markets, others tumble as coronavirus wreaks havoc

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03/17/2020 | 05:12am EDT
Traders begin work on the first day of 2018 trading at the Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE), as the benchmark index hits a new record high, in the financial district of Makati city, Metro Manila

Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday, while the Philippine bourse suspended trading indefinitely in an unprecedented move, on fears of the damaging effects stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Philippines shut down trading on its stock exchange and bond markets until further notice in a bid to protect the safety of traders, even as it put half its population of 107 million under a strict home quarantine to curb the spread.

While Philippines managed to escape the broad losses in markets, other markets in the region suffered after Wall Street's main indexes clocked a historic rout overnight in their biggest plunge since the 1987 'Black Monday' market crash.

"The global growth picture looks increasingly dire and subject to further down-side risks as the 'unknowns'... are more glaring than the 'knowns'," said Venkateswaran Lavanya, analyst at Mizuho Bank, in a note.

Lavanya also said that despite monetary policy action across the board and a commitment from G7 leaders to coordinate measures, global markets "remained unimpressed".

Indonesian equities ended 5% lower, after having triggered a circuit breaker that halted trading for thirty minutes - the third such instance across the last four trading sessions.

Financials and consumers were the worst hit, with Bank Central Asia falling 7% and household goods maker Unilever Indonesia losing 6.8%.

Singapore shares fell 1.7%, to close at their lowest in at least 10 and a half years. Lender DBS Group Holdings and real estate firm Capitaland lost about 3% each.

However, losses were limited by data that showed the city-state's exports grew 3% in February buoyed by increased shipments of electronics and specialised machinery, against expectations for a sharp decline.

The Thai bourse fell 1% in a low-volume and highly volatile trading session. The tourism-reliant nation approved plans to postpone next month's Thai New Year holiday and close schools to limit the spread of the virus.

Malaysian stocks fell 1.9%, despite the government bumping up its stimulus package by $230 million to combat the impact of the virus.

The nation closed off its borders, restricted internal movement, shut schools and universities and ordered most businesses to close after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

By Arpit Nayak

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMP LIMITED -2.28% 1.715 End-of-day quote.-10.44%
AT HOME GROUP INC. 2.76% 5.96 Delayed Quote.8.36%
CAPITALAND LIMITED 0.69% 2.91 End-of-day quote.-22.40%
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD -0.64% 21.65 End-of-day quote.-16.34%
JUST GROUP PLC 2.25% 49.06 Delayed Quote.-37.90%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. -1.85% 11.64 End-of-day quote.92.72%
LOOK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED -2.42% 685 End-of-day quote.-45.29%
PT BANK CENTRAL ASIA TBK 1.64% 31000 End-of-day quote.-7.26%
PT UNILEVER INDONESIA TBK -0.63% 7925 End-of-day quote.-5.65%
RISE, INC. -3.13% 31 End-of-day quote.3.33%
SET -1.12% 1350.5 Real-time Quote.-14.52%
THE GLOBAL LTD. -3.30% 205 End-of-day quote.-56.48%
WILL GROUP, INC. -2.52% 618 End-of-day quote.-50.64%
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