Nepse to suspend share trading from Sunday

Kathmandu, March 19

In a bid to stem the possible spread of coronavirus and giving in to the pressure from the investors’ groups and brokerage firms, the Securities Board of Nepal (SEBON) is gearing up to suspend trading in the share market for at least a week.

Today, the board had summoned the officials from Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse), investors’ associations and brokerage companies to discuss temporarily halting trade in the sole secondary market.

After the discussion, the board has assured to halt trading in Nepse for five days from Sunday.

Bhishma Raj Dhungana, chairperson of SEBON, informed that they plan to suspend trading in the secondary market from Sunday.

“Following the discussion with different stakeholders, we plan to halt the trading business from Sunday. We will officially make an announcement in this regard on Friday or early Sunday.”

Radha Pokharel, chairperson of Nepal Puzibazzar Laganikarta Sangh, informed that the stockbrokers and investors in today’s meeting had verbally agreed to halt stock trading from Sunday.

“We have suggested suspending the trading for at least one month,” she added.

However, as per the existing law, the board can close the market only for a maximum of seven days.

Nevertheless, stating that the board will consult with the Ministry of Finance for extending the deferral period, Dhungana added that if the line ministry gives its consent, the trading halt could be stretched to at least a month.

As per Dhungana, share investors would be able to place their orders online even if physical trading will not be carried out. But according to Nepse, only around 45 per cent of total investors are currently using the online system to trade shares.

Benchmark index had jumped 1.08 per cent or 13.5 points to close at 1,269.30 points today. Sensitive index edged up by 0.75 per cent or 2.03 points to 273.82 points, while float index rose by 1.08 per cent or 0.96 point to 90.12 points.

Banking, hydropower, non-life insurance, others, microfinance, life insurance and mutual funds subgroups witnessed gains today, whereas trading, hotels, development banks, finance and manufacturing landed in the red.

Nearly 5.11 million shares of 173 listed companies were traded through 18,792 transactions today that amounted to over Rs 1.90 billion.