ASX Says Options-Trading Issue Won’t Be Fixed Until Friday

  • Disruption on Australian exchange follows outage in September
  • Trading halted amid U.S. Federal Reserve rate decision

Australia’s ASX Ltd., which had its biggest disruption since 2011 in September, said some single-session options can’t be traded because of a manual error.

Trading, first set to resume Thursday evening, won’t be possible until 5:10 p.m. Friday, the Sydney-based exchange said on its website. Overnight and intra-day options on ASX 3-year and 10-year Treasury bond futures can’t change hands for the Dec. 15 and Dec. 16 trade dates. Separately, ASX said it corrected the settlement price for a futures contract on New Zealand bank bills.

The hiccups follow an outage on Sept. 19, when trading on Australia’s largest exchange had a delayed start, then a suspension and eventually an earlier-than-usual close. The options issue came before the U.S. Federal Reserve announced the second rate increase in a decade, pushing yields on five-year Treasury notes to the highest since 2011. In Australia, investors were awaiting the release of employment data today, which showed 39,100 jobs were added to the economy in November.

“That’s very poor timing,” said Ben Le Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at OptionsXpress Australia Pty., a unit of Charles Schwab Corp. “Any financial market that’s closed today, on face value, seems completely unacceptable.”

Some traders were informed about the options Wednesday before a notice was published on the exchange’s website later in the evening at 6:50 p.m. Sydney time, Matthew Gibbs, a spokesman for ASX, said in an e-mail Thursday. He said the operational issue described in the notice was a manual error.

ASX plans to relist the correct option strike range for trading date Dec. 19, according to today’s notice. The incorrect options will be delisted for the Dec. 16 date.

Typically, only the 3-year options, which were affected today, are actively traded and average 2,500 contracts a day, Gibbs said. Those derivatives are listed on the ASX Trade24 platform, not the main cash equities market.

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