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RBI reduces trading hours for debt, currency markets from April 7

Mumbai: The RBI has reduced the trading hours of debt as well as currency markets from Tuesday in view of the lockdown following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The revised market timings will be effective during April 7-17, 2020, the central bank said in a circular on Friday.

The market will open at 10 am instead of the current 9 am and closing timings too have been revised to 2 pm for all segments.

The lockdown has adversely impacted the functioning of financial markets, the RBI said.

The market timings have been revised in order 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, it said.

As per the circular, timing of the Government Securities (Central Government Securities, State Development Loans and Treasury Bills) market has been revised to 10 am to 2 pm from the existing 9 am to 5 pm.

Foreign Currency (FCY)/Indian Rupee (INR) Trades including Forex Derivatives market as well as Rupee Interest Rate Derivatives market too have been changed to 10 am to 2 pm from the existing 9 am to 5 pm.

The RBI said the unprecedented situation created by the COVID-19 outbreak has 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 logistics risks.

"The thinning out of activity is impacting market liquidity and increasing volatility of financial prices," the circular said.

However, all regular banking services for customers, including RTGS, NEFT, e-kuber and other retail payments systems will continue to be available as per extant timings, the RBI added.

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