March 23, 2020 / 3:08 AM / 15 days ago

Indian stocks set to plunge as coronavirus spreads

BENGALURU, March 23 (Reuters) - Indian shares were set for a sharp dive on Monday, tracking global stocks, as increasing lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic threatened to bring world economies to a grinding halt.

India’s NSE stock futures listed on the Singapore Exchange fell 11.5% by 0240 GMT.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index closed 5.83% higher on Friday on hopes of global stimulus to blunt the economic damage from the virus, but the index has crashed to multi-year lows and shed over 30% so far this year.

After market hours on Friday, the Securities and Exchange Board of India halved position limits for certain stock futures, restricted short-selling of index derivatives and raised margin rates for some shares to curb “abnormally high” volatility amid the pandemic.

Elsewhere, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 fell 5% at the open to be limit down, while EUROSTOXXX 50 futures tumbled 6.4%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 3.8%.

Several Indian states will remain under a lockdown till March 31, as the country has registered 341 cases of coronavirus, with seven deaths as of Sunday.

The rapidly spreading virus has claimed more than 14,000 lives globally, disrupting business and ravaging markets worldwide. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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