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Error puts Shanghai bourse in a spin

By XIE YU in Shanghai and CHEN JIA in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-17 01:13

Index rises 5.6% in two minutes; traders and analysts demand probe

Shares in Shanghai had a roller coaster ride on Friday after the country's fifth-largest brokerage by market value reported a trading error.

China Everbright Securities Co said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange in the afternoon that it encountered a problem in its system during morning trading on the bourse.

Shares surged in the morning, probably triggered by the brokerage trading system fault and led by financial and oil giants, before easing back in the afternoon.

Traders and analysts called for an immediate investigation into possible price manipulation, while short-sellers were furious and urged the authorities to probe the case and come up with a compensation plan.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 5.6 percent in two minutes in morning trade, with the trading volume rising by 80 percent above the 30-day average.

The index rose by 3.19 percent in the morning to 2,148.39 points, a two-month high, before ending the day at 2,068.45.

The Shanghai exchange said later on its website that trading on the bourse had returned to normal and settlement and clearing for Friday would follow.

Almost all blue chips, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Baosteel, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Communications, hit their trading limits within two minutes.

Media reports said the error arose when a trader added two more zeroes to a "buy" order, while other sources said it was because simulated trading was connected to real-time operations.

Jiang Xiangyang, spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said after the market closed: "The unusual fluctuation in A-shares was because of a big bunch of stocks being bought in three minutes at around 11 am, and the order was given by the self-owned business department of Everbright Securities Co Ltd.

"The Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Securities Regulatory Bureau immediately took measures to investigate the case. So far, there is no result to publish."

The securities company has the responsibility of providing an explanation to the supervisory bodies, Jiang said.

There was speculation that Everbright may have applied for all morning trading to be cancelled. Trading in Everbright shares was suspended in the afternoon.

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