Financial Markets Reopen in Manila as Volcanic Ash Subsides

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(Bloomberg) — Financial markets will reopen in Manila Tuesday, signaling a reprieve from ash spewed from an active volcano 40 miles (65 kilometers) away that’s forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of Filipinos.

A change in wind direction has spared the central business district from heavy ash. Offices, schools and markets were shut Monday as Taal, one of the most active and deadly volcanoes in the Philippines, started to flare Sunday, spreading debris across the capital and northern provinces.

a man walking down a city street: Volcanic Eruption Spurs Mass Evacuation In Philippines© Bloomberg
Volcanic Eruption Spurs Mass Evacuation In Philippines

Pedestrians cross a road near the Philippines Stock Exchange Inc. building in Manila, the Philippines, on Jan. 13.

The Philippine stock exchange will reopen for regular trading, President Ramon Monzon said in a text message. It will be business as usual in the foreign exchange market, the Bankers Association of the Philippines said. Government offices in Manila and neighboring central Luzon provinces will be open, but remain closed in Batangas province, where the Taal Volcano is located, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.

Taal is in a state of intense unrest, characterized by continuous eruption of its main crater, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said early Tuesday. Lava fountains 500 meters (1,640 feet) high contributed to dark gray, steam-laden plumes extending 2 kilometers into the sky. Of 212 earthquakes recorded so far, 81 were described as intense and may signify further eruptions, according to the agency.

a ship on the side of a snow covered mountain: Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines© Getty Images via Bloomberg
Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines

Volcanic ash covers roads and rooftops as Taal Volcano erupts on Jan. 13.

There were “flashes of volcanic lightning” as new vents opened, it said.

Duterte Visit

President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s scheduled to conduct an inspection in the surrounding areas of Taal on Tuesday, pledging to ensure that prices of commodities including face masks aren’t rising unreasonably.

The government has sufficient supplies for evacuees, and helicopters are on standby in case more people need to be evacuated, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

a man standing in front of a store: Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines© Getty Images via Bloomberg
Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines

People fleeing Taal Volcano’s eruption arrive at an evacuation center on Jan. 13.

About 36,000 people have been evacuated from 27 towns and cities in Batangas as of midnight and being accommodated in 130 shelters, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

The province of Batangas, south of the capital, has been placed under a state of emergency. Classes on Tuesday have also been suspended in the area, which the state weather bureau said will continue to experience ash fall, along with Rizal and Quezon provinces, if the eruption continues.

The Southeast Asian nation — among the most disaster-prome countries in the world — is “well prepared financially to handle any fallout and damage from this eruption,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told Bloomberg Television Monday.

Between 2000 and 2016, natural disasters in the Philippines caused more than 23,000 deaths and affected 125 million people, according to the Asian Development Bank. The socioeconomic damage was about $20 billion with average annual damage estimated at $1.2 billion, it said.

Read: Thousands of Filipinos Flee as Volcanic Fallout Hits Manila

To contact the reporters on this story: Ditas Lopez in Manila at dlopez55@bloomberg.net;Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.net;Claire Jiao in Manila at cjiao5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Jason Gale

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