Markets to operate normally today: Sebi amid reports of shutdown

The stock markets will operate normally on Monday, said regulatory and exchange officials on Sunday. The clarification came after reports surfaced that the market regulator Sebi and the finance ministry was considering shorter trading hours or even a complete shutdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Markets will work normally tomorrow (Monday),” said a Sebi official. “All segments at BSE will operate as usual on Monday 23,” said Ashish Chauhan MD & CEO, BSE. 

Market participants took to the social media over the issue of keeping markets close. Many investors urged the government and Sebi to keep markets closed following a harrowing week, where the benchmark indices plunged 12 per cent. However, many cited the example of Philippines saying what it was a bad idea. 

Last week, the Philippines markets had crashed as much as 25 per cent after it resumed trading after a forced shutdown.

“Surprised with people asking for closing exchanges. Firstly the business is all digital today, operations can be run online with some effort. We are working from home, the last two weeks. Yeah, there will be a drop in customer experience, but they'd understand. We track global markets, exchange closing doesn't mean stock price will stop falling. No one knows where we will be in a few days. Even if we had to close, loan-against-share (Promoter funding), margin funding and derivative positions have to be unwound first. Otherwise when markets open and had to factor a big move globally when we were closed, it would be systemic risk to exchanges, clearing corp, banks and brokers,” tweeted Nithin Kamath, founder and CEO, Zerodha. 

Question marks were raised over the functioning of the markets after the Maharashtra government ordered closure of all working place in Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur in Friday. The state government, however, was quick to clarify that the directive will not be applicable to stock market ecosystem.

“Stock exchanges, clearing corporations, depositories, stockbrokers and Sebi-registered participants operating through these institutions will be exempted,” Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray tweeted on Friday.

Meanwhile, exchanges, including NSE, BSE and MCX, have allowed brokers the flexibility to relocate the trading terminals to their homes to ensure business continuity.

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