FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Friday that the state pension funds need to double their regular equities purchases to help prop up the stock market after sharp losses triggered trading halts Thursday.

In a Viber message yesterday, Mr. Dominguez told reporters he asked the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) to double their daily average purchase volume, at the very least, in response to the market rout triggered by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

“I have instructed GSIS and SSS to take advantage of the low stock prices as well as to support the stock market by at least doubling their daily average purchase volume of last year,” he said.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell 9.71% to 5,736.27 Thursday, its largest one-day drop since the 12.27% decline on Oct. 12, 2008, during the subprime mortgage crisis.

The PSEi dropped by as much as 10.33% intraday, which triggered the circuit breaker that halted trading for 15 minutes.

On Thursday, Mr. Dominguez said the government has “all the tools — medical, financial and monetary — to successfully handle this situation.”

Mr. Dominguez provided no estimates for the two pension funds’ equity positions.

Asked for details, the GSIS and SSS had not responded at deadline time. — Beatrice M. Laforga