The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Friday that bond and currency markets will operate between 10 am to 2 pm, instead of the usual 9 am to 5 pm, effective April 7 to 17, in view of the Coronavirus-related dislocations.
The normal timings of the markets are between 9 am and 5 pm, depending on the type of instrument being traded. For example, repo in government securities was available between 9 am and 2.30 pm, whereas repo in the corporate bonds segment used to close at 6 pm. Now everything will close by 2 pm.
In a notification on its website, the RBI said the Covid-19 outbreak has created an unprecedented situation and necessitated lockdowns, social distancing, restrictions on movement of people and non-essential activities, work from home arrangements and business continuity plans.
“The resultant dislocations have adversely impacted the functioning of financial markets. Staff and IT resources have been severely affected, posing operational and logistic risks. The thinning out of activity is impacting market liquidity and increasing volatility of financial prices,” the central bank said. Therefore, to minimise these risks and to ensure that market participants maintain adequate checks and supervisory controls while optimising thin resources and ensuring safety of personnel, the central bank curtailed the market timings.
Market participants welcomed the move. Even as most work from home, seniors have to come to the trading floor even as Covid-infected cases rise in the financial capital Mumbai.
“The reduction in OTC (over the counter) timings will disappoint the speculators and also reduce the volumes. Reduction in volumes will impact the market liquidity and likely increase volatility keeping rupee on an edge,” said Rahul Gupta, head of research- currency, Emkay Global Financial Services.
may see RBI intervening and capping the volatility however, there is not much RBI can do. 76.80-76.85 will act as a crucial resistance with 75.40 in support.”
The RBI assured that all regular banking services for customers, including RTGS, NEFT, e-kuber (bond trading platform) and other retail payments systems will continue to be available as per extant timings.