Buoying up the bourse

December 11, 2018

It may not be as inclusive or participatory as an economic activity, but its performance cannot be ignored by the general public.

This is because its rise or fall reflects the general confidence in the economy.

That’s why global investors regularly monitor stock market developments in key financial capitals of the world.

In the ASEAN region, the local equities market is among those closely watched and tracked.

Only a small percentage of Filipinos own shares of stock, but still everybody is affected by what happens at the stock market because it is an important component of the economy.  They say the bourse is the barometer of the economy.

It is in the stock market where investors buy and sell shares of publicly traded companies.

Since the country's biggest corporations and partnerships are involved, and local and foreign investors whether big or small are into this activity, the buying and selling of shares exert a major influence on how well the economy performs.

A booming stock market is expected to help drive jobs growth in the succeeding months, primarily by providing the opportunity for publicly traded companies to raise additional capital for business expansion.  If their business expands, more jobs would be created, making a dent on the unemployment rate.

Early in January this year, observers noted that the country's largest firms took advantage of the surging market to sell new shares either through rights offerings or private placements.

Even if the country suffered its highest inflation rate in months, there's nothing like a healthy and growing stock market to restore eroding investor confidence in the economy.

This is the reason why government regulators are strict in monitoring the activities at the bourse.

For instance, in early part of the year, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez complained that the Philippine Stock Exchange's protracted compliance to the 20-percent ownership limit is slowing down the development of capital markets.  

Dominguez noted that the PSE's slow action is thwarting the goal of the Duterte administration for a more inclusive financial system.

The PSE, headed by President Ramon Monzon, meanwhile appealed to exclude the shares of dormant brokers whose trading rights have already been revoked, in the reckoning of ownership limit.

Monzon himself displayed somewhat weak leadership in the case of the PSE's failed bid to buy the Philippine Dealing System Inc., with Landbank as the other bidder.

It is important that the PSE, along with other finance and business institutions, both government and private, cooperate to develop a strong capital market for the nation.