THE Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) is reopening its trading floor today as quarantine measures in Metro Manila are eased.
In a statement over the weekend, the operator of the local bourse said stockbrokers may return to the trading floor for operations in an effort to boost investor confidence.
“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,” PSE President and CEO Ramon S. Monzon said in the statement.
“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,” he added.
Metro Manila and parts of the country will be under a relaxed lockdown starting June 1 after calls from various stakeholders to restart the economy. However, the decision was amid a continued rise in local coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, which stood at 16,634 as of Friday.
The PSE trading floor has been closed since mid-March to observe regulations in containing the spread of COVID-19. Brokers have since been monitoring market trading remotely.
Mr. Monzon said as brokers were pushed out of the trading floor, many had to rent alternative sites to keep operating during the lockdown period. Now that they are allowed to return, the PSE hopes it helps them recover from expenses for rental, employee board and lodging and connectivity costs.
As the trading floor reopens, the PSE will be observing safety regulations for those entering the building, such as temperature checks, submission of daily health declarations and required wearing of masks.
A one-trader-per-booth policy will also be observed, against the previous two to three traders per booth, to maintain physical distancing. Any form of gathering in the trading floor will not be allowed.
“The…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,” Mr. Monzon said.
Should it find necessary, the PSE said it may suspend trading operations at the trading floor again.
Trading hours during the relaxed lockdown will remain shortened as observed since March: market opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. — Denise A. Valdez