Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the government as well as the RBI are “closely monitoring” the domestic and global stock markets, which are facing intense volatility amid mounting coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.
Ms. Sitharaman also said different departments of the government are working to provide relief to the industry, which could be severely impacted by the fast-spreading virus.
As it is global markets have all had severe volatility and we are also consciously monitoring all of them. It is no consolation to say that the stock markets elsewhere have also suffered. I am conscious of that but globally there is a serious repercussion felt and we are conscious of the developments. Together with RBI we are closely monitoring,” she told reporters.
After being battered in the early session, the BSE Sensex spurted 1,325.34 points and the NSE Nifty rose 365.05 points to end in the green.
Indian markets saw their biggest intra-day sell-off in early session on Friday, wiping off nearly ₹12 lakh crore of investor wealth in less than 20 minutes of opening trade.
As coronavirus-led recession fears triggered panic selling globally, both Sensex and Nifty plunged over 10% in the opening session, hitting their lower circuit levels.
Stock exchanges halted trading for 45 minutes. Normal trading resumed at around 1030 hours. The last circuit freeze happened in January 2008.
On coronavirus, the Finance Minister said the Centre is in touch with the States and has been continuously monitoring the situation.
It has been made sure that effective timely steps are taken to safeguard Indian interests and also to ensure that Indians who travelled abroad are tested and monitored, she said. Where necessary and wherever possible, they are being brought back to the country, she added.
“You are aware I had held a meeting with all the industries concerned to address issues which are coming out of the challenge of the coronavirus and for them each department has been now spending a lot of time to see how best they can give relief from the challenges that they are facing. So we are seized of the matter and we are almost on a daily basis monitoring the situation,” Ms. Sitharaman added.
Replying to another related query, she said different sectors of the economy are engaging with the departments concerned almost on a daily basis.
“So we are trying to attend to the requirement of the industries and also see where each department will have to make an intervention where it is related to their own activities. So yes we are moving on that front,” Ms. Sitharaman said.
The RBI has already announced steps to infuse liquidity in the foreign exchange market. It will be selling USD 2 billion worth of American currency on Monday as part of its first tranche of liquidity infusion through swap auction.
News Source: The Hindu