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Singapore shares hardly trade as SGX's system fails in the morning

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A LENGTHY trading suspension from 11.38am until the end of the day, caused by a computer glitch, provided the main talking point in Thursday's session. As a result, turnover amounted to just 539 million units worth S$335.2 million, about one-third recent averages. At the time of the breakdown, the Straits Times Index had dropped 3.73 points to 2,906.92.

Brokers said the system started experiencing problems in mid-morning and finally went offline at 11.38am, at which time Singapore Exchange (SGX) said orders can be entered, taken out or amended but could be matched only when the market reopened.

A second update sent an hour later said the securities market had been put in "adjust phase at 1138 hours due to duplicate trade confirmation messages being generated" and that "no duplicate trades were executed". It added that trading was expected to resume at 2pm; this however did not occur. After another update which said trading would restart at 4pm, the exchange at 4.1pm said the market would be closed for the day.

Comments from brokers were understandably critical and scathing, though some could see the funny side.

"SGX must have bought its system from China, with tiny cracks in it," said one wit, referring to cracks found in China-made trains bought by SMRT, while another added "today was the trial run for SGX's new trading hours - from 9-10am and then the rest of the day off".

Yet another was "they gave us a six-hour lunch break to make up for taking away our lunch break all those years ago".