19:08 GMT06 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out the value of Indian equities by over 20 percent from their February levels. From over 41,000 at the end of February, the Indian share market index Sensex now stands at 32,500 levels. 

    India's currency and equities prices tumbled in early morning trading on Friday as COVID-19 cases continue to mount, threatening the pace of the opening up of the economy. 

    The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30 share index, Sensex, crashed 1,190 points to trade at around 32,280 in early trading.

    Similarly, the National Stock Exchange's wider 50-share index, the Nifty 50, shed 129 points to trade at a level of 9,772. Banking and financial sector stocks led the fall in the Indian equities market, following global cues as well as the rising number of domestic COVID-19 cases continued to weigh heavily on the indices. 

    The Indian currency also weakened against the USD in early trading. The Indian currency fell sharply against the dollar and surpassed the psychological mark of 76 to trade at 76.10, compared with 75.78 the previous day. 

    Stock market participants say that lockdown fears still abound as the growing COVID-19 case load is causing a lot of uncertainties. India is currently in phase one of 'unlock' after over two and a half months of lockdown.

    A nationwide lockdown was imposed on 25 March which has now been substantially lifted. 

    India has surpassed United Kingdom to rank fourth in terms of coronavirus cases. India registered around 11,000 cases in a single day on Thursday -- which is the highest count ever. The total caseload now stands at 297,535 according to India’s Ministry of Health Affairs.

    The lockdown has taken a heavy toll on the Indian economy, with the country's Gross Domestic Product growth slipping to 3.1 percent in the first quarter of the year (January - March). This is lowest level of GDP growth in the last eleven years. 

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    equity markets, COVID-19, pandemic, India
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