SGX closed after technical glitch

SINGAPORE — Singapore Exchange Ltd said stocks was halted yesteday morning after a technical malfunction.

The bourse said the suspension, which began at 11.38 am local time yesyerday, was caused by duplicated trade confirmation messages. Singapore Exchange (SGX) failed in two attempts to reopen the market, after saying it would restart trading at 2pm and then 4pm.

“If they don’t get it going today then people are going to be very upset,” said Andrew Sullivan, managing director of sales trading with Haitong International Securities Group Ltd in Hong Kong, before SGX said trading wouldn’t resume for the day. “It obviously hurts their credibility and their reputation as being an international global market that can cope under every situation.”

It’s at least the second malfunction at SGX’s systems in the past year.

In 2014, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reprimanded SGX for two trading disruptions, a blow for the bourse operator under former chief executive officer (CEO) Magnus Bocker. He pledged to review the exchange’s processes to prevent a recurrence. Bocker was replaced July last year by Loh Boon Chye, formerly Bank of America Corp’s head of Asia-Pacific global markets.

“Given the change in CEO and that this has happened again, there may be a bigger problem facing SGX and its back-end systems,” said Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. “Some investors could potentially suffer losses if prices move significantly when trading resumes.”

SGX is home to Southeast Asia’s largest stock market, with total capitalisation in the city of US$494 billion (RM1.95 trillion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About S$1.6 billion (RM4.7 billion) of shares changed hands on an average day in the past 12 months. The exchange maintains a monopoly on stock trading in Singapore.

“It’s unforeseen and nobody likes this,” said Melinda Sam, CEO of the Securities Association of Singapore. “We just hope that SGX can improve on the technology.”

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