NSE suspends trading hours after coronavirus case confirmed in Kenya
By Sara Okuoro | March 13th 2020
Trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was on Friday halted after benchmark index plunged at 5 per cent.
This came just hours after Kenya confirmed her first coronavirus case.
The NSE says trading will resume on Monday, March 17, 2020.
Trading was closed at 2:38PM, 22 minutes earlier than the usual 3:00PM closing time.
The drop could be attributed to panic-selling following the announcement of Kenya’s first coronavirus case as well as high market activity that usually takes place on Fridays.
NSE CEO Geoffrey Odundo says there is no cause for alarm as the temporary halt is in line with provisions of NSE trading rules.
The NSE 20 share index is the measure that can gauge how the 20 most active firms are performing in trades which involves selling of shares and buying.
World stocks however bounced off their lows on Friday on hopes of more central bank stimulus and government spending, but were still set for their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with coronavirus panic-selling hitting nearly every asset class.
Traders warned against hiking commodity prices
With Kenya confirming the first coronavirus case, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned traders that “this is not the time to make abnormal profits by charging abnormal prices”.
He appealed to the business community to exercise "reasonable behaviour" in terms of pricing of goods. The Government has however not yet set price limits for goods.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has also warned traders against hoarding and hiking prices of various goods saying “The Act and will attract a penalty of up to ten per cent of the respective turnover of the manufacturers and retailers in question.”
“It has come to the attention of the Authority that following a pronouncement by the Government of a confirmed Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case, some manufacturers and retailers are contemplating collusive increases of prices and/or hoarding with the intention of subsequently increasing prices of various consumer goods,” said CAK.
Members of the Public with information relating to hoarding and price hikes have been urged to submit the same to the Authority.
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