Australian Exchange Halts Trading in Longest Outage in Decade

(Bloomberg) — Australia’s stock exchange opened for less than half an hour before a data issue forced it to close for the rest of Monday’s session, marring the debut day for an updated trading system.

ASX Ltd. and its technology provider Nasdaq have identified the cause and a plan to fix it, the exchange said in an emailed statement. “A software issue limited to the trading of multiple securities in a single order (combination trading) created inaccurate market data,” it said.

This is the longest shutdown in well over a decade for the exchange.ASX said the issue will be resolved overnight with the market re-opening at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, adding that Monday was the “go-live” day for the refreshed trading system for ASX’s equity market after over a year of testing. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 1.2% before trading was suspended at 10:24 a.m.

ASX suspends trading soon after start of Monday session

© Bloomberg
ASX suspends trading soon after start of Monday session

“We are aiming to be an international financial center and this hurts our global reputation,” said John Athanasiou, chief executive officer at Red Leaf Securities in Sydney. “Bull or bear market, there is never a good time for the bourse to go down.”

The nation’s benchmark stock measure is down about 3% this year and is a few hundred points shy of its all-time record. Regional benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set for a record high today, boosted by a free-trade agreement between Asian nations.

The outage came as other global exchanges have faced disruptions this year. Trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s cash equity market was halted for an entire day on Oct. 1, an unprecedented shutdown. The failure that was caused by a botched switchover to a backup unit following a memory failure in its trading system.

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New Zealand’s stock market was forced to halt trading over four days in August after distributed-denial-of-service attacks overwhelmed its website. Trading in all stocks and derivatives on Euronext NV markets was shut down for three hours in late October, affecting activity in countries including France and Belgium. The problem was traced to due to a software issue.

Australia’s exchange has also experienced glitches in the past. A hardware failure in the ASX’s trading systems triggered a delayed market open and an early closure in September 2016. In October 2011, trading was halted for almost four hours by a technical disruption just before the open.

Competing exchange operator Chi-X Australia Pty Ltd. said trading of ASX-listed securities remained open through its venue on Monday, according to its website.

(Updates with size and scope for the outage in headline and third paragraph)

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