By Ditas Lopez
Philippine stocks and currency trading started their lengthened schedules on Monday in what market participants consider as the latest sign that the nation is returning to business-as-usual amid a drop in coronavirus cases.
Currency dealers will have their midday breaks halved into an hour from Monday before implementing an uninterrupted 7-hour trading beginning Jan. 3, 2022 while stocks trading will return to its pre-pandemic session of five hours from Dec. 6 although with a shorter 30-minute lunch break.
The extension of fixed income trading that will mirror changes in the FX schedule was deferred pending approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Economic activities are expected to be on an upward trend, discounting the latest development of omicron,” said Benjamin Castillo, managing director at the Bankers Association of the Philippines. “We are alerted but we’re not alarmed, and we’re ready for more volume,” he said.
“Business should be good specially for clients as they don’t need to wait for 2:00 pm for their bigger requirements,” said D’Angelo Co, a foreign-exchange dealer at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. in Manila. The new schedule will also allow the local market to align with the big players in the region, he said.
As COVID-19 cases declined below 1,000 in the recent weeks, the Philippines has relaxed pandemic restrictions including loosening domestic travel rules to help spur economic recovery. It has, however, rolled back the reopening to foreign tourists and closed the border to countries where the new omicron variant has been detected.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.