SEBI suspends futures trading in key farm crops

Market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday issued an order suspending futures trading in paddy (non-basmati), wheat, Bengal gram (chana dal), mustard seeds and its derivatives, soyabean and its derivatives, crude palm oil and green gram (moong dal) for a year, in a move believed to stem rising prices.

In its order, SEBI asked stock exchanges in commodity derivatives segment to not to undertake any trading in derivative contracts in these key farm commodities with immediate effect.

“No new contract shall be launched till further orders. In respect of running contracts, no new position will be allowed to be taken. Only squaring up of position will be allowed,” the regulator said in its order.

“These directions will be implemented with immediate effect. The above-mentioned directions are applicable, for a period of one year,” it added.

India is the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils. Prices of these kitchen staples have been spiralling in recent months.

The government as well as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are struggling to hold prices of food items to curb inflation and Monday’s measures are believed to be steps in this direction.

As edible oil prices hit near record highs the union government recently cut taxes on imports of palm, soy and sunflower oil substantially but this measure has not made much difference.

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