Philippines stocks drop as trading halt frustrates investors

January 3, 2024 - 4:40 PM
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Philippine Stock Exchange (The STAR/File)
  • Technical issues prompt trading halt – bourse operator
  • Hours-long glitch “terrible way” to start year – banker
  • Philippine bourse faced technical issues in Jan 2022 and 2023

The Philippines‘ stock market on Wednesday closed 0.84% lower as a trading halt because of “technical issues” that stopped transactions for more than two hours frustrated investors eager to start off the year’s activity.

The Philippine Stock Exchange, the bourse operator, said it was conducting an investigation with its third party system provider to identify the problem’s root cause.

READ: Philippines stock exchange halts trading

The benchmark stock exchange index .PSI opened 0.22% lower on Wednesday, the second day of trades for 2024, but trading was halted after just two minutes.

Trading resumed at 11:56 a.m. (0356 GMT), and stocks were down 0.36% by the noon break. Afternoon trades ran as normal from 0500 GMT to 0700 GMT.

“A market glitch for more than two hours is a terrible way to greet the new year,” Juan Paolo Colet, managing director at investment bank China Bank Capital Corp in Manila, said in a market commentary.

The bourse needs to ensure infrastructure reliability to boost trading volumes, Colet said, adding that many traders were caught off guard by the lack of a timely explanation.

Turnover declined 15% to 3.11 billion Philippine pesos ($55.96 million) from a day ago, roughly just half of market’s average 6 billion pesos daily transaction value for 2023.

In January 2022, the stock exchange cancelled trading for an entire day because of technical problems, with more than a third of market participants unable to establish a connection to the core trading engine.

A year ago, the bourse opened late because of a technical issue.

The stock market capitalisation of the Philippines, which trails that of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, inched up 1.1% year-on-year to 16.74 trillion pesos ($300.97 billion) as of the endof 2023, data from the stock exchange operator showed.

($1 = 55.5800 Philippine pesos)

— Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Additional Reporting by Ankur Benarjee; Editing by Devjyot Ghoshal, Jan Harvey and Christian Schmollinger