First, it was a “technical issue” in Europe which back on July 1 caused European stock markets to suffer a 3 hour outage. Then, in August, New Zealand’s stock market was forced to halt trading over four days in August after distributed-denial-of-service attacks overwhelmed its website. Then on October 1, another “technical issue” hit the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which resulted in an unprecedented all-day trading halt. And just a few weeks later, in late October, trading in all stocks and derivatives on Euronext NV markets was shut down for three hours affecting activity in countries including France and Belgium. The problem was traced to due to a software issue.
Now, about a month later, the “glitching” rolling market blackout struck again, this time in Australia whose stock exchange opened for less than half an hour before a software issue forced it to close for the rest of Monday’s session, just as the country rolled out an “updated” trading system.
According to a statement from the exchange, the software issue was limited to the trading of multiple securities in a single order, or combination trading, and created inaccurate market data. Whatever the issue, the result was clear: no one could trade.
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 was caused by a botched switchover to a backup unit following a memory failure in its trading system.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 1.2% before trading was suspended at 10:24 a.m local time; it remains down 3% for the year year and is a few hundred points shy of its all-time record.
According to Bloomberg, it was the longest shutdown in well over a decade for the exchange and came on the day a refreshed trading system for the ASX’s equity market went live, despite more than a year of testing. ASX Managing Director Dominic Stevens apologized for the disruption, saying it “fell short of the high standards we set ourselves.” It did however test just how prepared Australia was – alongside Europe and Japan – for a full-blown market closure. The US is likely next.
This is hardly the first time Australia’s exchange has experienced a major “glitch” – 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.
ASX Ltd. and its technology provider Nasdaq said they identified the cause of the problem and will fix it overnight so the market can re-open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the exchange said in a statement.