Despite a flat start on Wednesday, domestic stocks have continued to decline ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes, which could shed light on the Fed’s interest rate hike plans for 2023. The Sensex fell 638.80 points, or 1.04 percent, to 60,655.40 by noon, while the Nifty fell 191 points, or 1.05 percent, to 18,041.50 by noon.

All sectors, too, plunged in the sea of red. The BSE MidCap and SmallCap indexes fell up to 1 percent. The Nifty Metal and Realty indexes were both down more than 1 percent. The India VIX spiked more than 6 percent to 15.53 at the same time.

As investors watch for signs of interest rate hikes in the new year, they are closely watching the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting. In addition to global trends, Indian investors will also keep an eye on corporate earnings for a better understanding of the economy. The minutes will be released later tonight.

Policymakers raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps) at their December 13-14 meeting to a range of 4.25 percent to 4.5 percent, down from 75 bps, but with higher inflation expectations.

Based on their median projection, officials predict inflation will end 2023 at 3.1%, up from 2.8% in September’s previous forecast.