In wake of COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty over nationwide lockdown, the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday extended the truncated trading hours for currency, bond and money markets that have lately witnessed high volatility. On April 3, the RBI first announced shortened market hours, from 10 AM to 2 PM, for the financial markets from April 7, 2020 to April 17, 2020, which was further extended till April 30.
"It has been decided that the amended trading hours i.e., from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm for RBI-regulated markets that were effective till the close of business on Thursday April 30, 2020, shall be extended till further notice," the central bank said in a press release.
The RBI said there was a likelihood of an extension of lockdown in major cities like Mumbai or easing of the restrictions in a limited manner. The decision was taken "in view of persisting operational dislocations and elevated levels of health risks warranting continuing restrictions on movement, work from home arrangements and business continuity plans," it said.
Market trading timings will be reviewed on issuance of directions pertaining to lockdown from the government, it added.
In order to minimise risks arising due to the unprecedented situation created by the COVID-19 outbreak, the RBI on April 3 trimmed the trading hours for various RBI regulated markets for four hours - between 10 am and 2 pm. The timings for currency market was revised from 10 am to 2 pm, while trading hours for debt market were revised to 11 am to 2 pm.
However, timing for stock market remains unchanged. Currently, Indian equity market trades from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm on weekdays.
By Chitranjan Kumar