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Philippines' finance minister tasks state pension funds to support stock market

[MANILA] The Philippines' finance minister on Friday ordered state pension funds to support the stock market by increasing their daily investments in the wake of a global markets rout triggered by fears of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes as the broader index has fallen nearly 30 per cent year-to-date, with the stock exchange operator implementing a 15-minute trading halt in early trading, the second in two days, to stem the downturn.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told reporters he has instructed the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System "to take advantage of the low stock prices" and "support the stock market by at least doubling their daily average purchase volumes" from last year.

The Philippines' broader index trimmed its sharp morning losses to 4.53 per cent after the announcement. It plummeted 11 per cent in early trade.