Sebi extends trading curbs to contain market volatility till May end

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Sebi extends trading curbs to contain market volatility till May end

Market regulator has introduced curbs on short selling, increased margins and penalties

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MUMBAI: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Monday said the measures aimed at containing the wild swings in stock prices would continue till the end of next month.

On March 20, the markets regulator had imposed temporary restrictions on short-selling, increased margin requirements, and hiked penalties on violators. Sebi had then said the measures were for a period for one month. However, they will remain in place till May 28, the regulator has said.

“As the stock markets (both domestic and global) are expected to be volatile in the near future owing to concerns relating to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant fear of economic slowdown, keeping in view the objective of ensuring orderly trading and settlement, effective risk management, price discovery, and maintenance of market integrity, it has been decided that the measures implemented since March 23, 2020 will continue to be in force till May 28, 2020,” Sebi said in a circular.

The measures announced by Sebi had coincided with a sharp recovery in the market. Since March 23, the Indian markets have gained 22 per cent. Prior to the rebound, the benchmark indices had dropped nearly 40 per cent from their January peaks.

“Since the implementation of the aforementioned measures, Indian securities market has witnessed recovery in broad market indices. Further, there has not been any major disruption in stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories on account of the existing robust regulatory framework. However, the expected volatility in the stock market still remains on the higher side,” Sebi has said.

The India VIX index, a gauge for market volatility, on Monday ended at 43.5. On March 24, it had closed at record level of 86.

Some of the curbs put in place by Sebi include halving the so-called market-wide position limit (MWPL) for highly volatile stocks, no short positions in the derivatives beyond the value of holdings of the underlying stocks or the collaterals provided by traders, and increase in margins in both cash and derivatives segment by as much as 40 per cent.

While the measures have helped in cooling off volatility, they have also made a dent in volumes. There was a noticeable drop in futures and options (F&O) volumes during the expiry of March series contract. Market players said besides the regulatory measures, lockdowns and weak investor sentiment, too, are responsible for thinning volumes.

Source- Business Standard.