Warsaw Bourse to Cut Trade Hours After Brokerages Protest

The Warsaw Stock Exchange, central Europe’s biggest equity market, plans to reduce trading hours next month, backing off an expansion two years ago.

Trading will be cut by 30 minutes to end at 5 p.m. Warsaw time starting April 15, when the exchange plans to start a new trading system, Chief Executive Officer Adam Maciejewski said at a news conference in the Polish capital today. The trading hours will stay in effect until the end of the year. The operator will then decide on whether they should continue after assessing the timetable’s impact on volumes.

The bourse, which lists 438 companies on its main market with a combined value of 696 billion zloty ($213 billion), extended trading hours from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the start of 2011 to increase volumes and lure international investors. That sparked protests from the Polish Chamber of Brokerage Houses, which said the change boosted operating costs while trading volumes shrank amid the global financial crisis.

“The change is a result of our compromise” with brokerage houses, Maciejewski said. “We cannot ignore brokerages’ opinion. That should give them some comfort.”

Equity volumes dropped around the world last year, with the average daily trading on the Polish sole stock exchange shrinking 24 percent to a three-year low, according to data on the Warsaw bourse’s website.

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