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Financial industry groups call for markets to stay open during outbreak

A coalition of market trade associations is calling on the federal government to keep U.S. markets open despite the volatility caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Closing the markets would have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy. Even persistent rumors about closing the markets are themselves causing adverse effects. Market participants are taking steps, which they otherwise would not, to mitigate against a market closure,” the coalition wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSenate GOP plan provides massive tax-relief, loans for business Overnight Energy: Trump prepares to buy 30M barrels of oil amid industry slump | Coronavirus offers reprieve from air pollution | Energy regulators split on delaying actions amid outbreak GOP plan provides ,200 in cash assistance amid coronavirus MORE, Secretary and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and Commodity Future Trading Commission Chairman Heath Tarbert.

The coalition includes the Managed Funds Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), American Bankers Association (ABA), Bank Policy Institute, CME Group, and Nasdaq, among others. 

“Financial markets are critical infrastructure for the American economy. The markets continue to serve the needs of participants to raise capital, manage investments, access cash and manage risk that affects both retail and institutional investors,” the letter read.

The New York Stoke Exchange will temporarily shut its trading floor on Monday and switch to all electronic trades while the financial services industry is debating whether to close the markets entirely.

The coalition also called for personnel from their member firms to be able to have access to market, clearing or settlement operations sites, which some states and localities have restricted or are considering restricting.

Additionally, they called on the Financial Stability Oversight Council within the Treasury Department to provide a statement, signally that the markets will continue operating and are essential in order to build market confidence. The council monitors the stability of the financial system and identifies any risks. 

Other industries are also calling on the federal government to deem them essential during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The National Retail Federation (NRF) wrote to President TrumpDonald John TrumpOn The Money: McConnell introduces third coronavirus relief proposal | Democrats seek bigger stimulus with less aid for business | Washington scrambles to prevent unemployment spike Hillicon Valley: Twitter targets coronavirus misinformation | Facebook bans sanitizer, virus test ads to prevent price gouging | DHS defines critical jobs during outbreak | Remote working apps surge Overnight Defense: ‘Tens of thousands’ of National Guard troops could be activated for coronavirus response | Hospital ships could take week to deploy | Trump says military to help Americans stuck in Peru MORE on Thursday, asking for national guidance for state and local governments to clarify which retail businesses and services are considered “essential” and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) asked for the government to designate manufacturing supply chains as “essential.” 

Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue urged Trump on Wednesday to designate “essential businesses and services” and “essential infrastructure” during the coronavirus outbreak.

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