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

File Photo: Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

MANILA, March 13 (Reuters) - 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% 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% after the announcement. It plummeted 11% in early trade. ($1 = 51.1250 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Shri Navaratnam)