September 5, 2019 / 6:29 AM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 5-HKEX to resume derivatives trading on Friday after software issues

* HKEX halts derivatives trading due to “connectivity” issues

* Local stock market under pressure, gives up early gains

* Property shares were down more than 2% at one point (Updates with resumption date for derivatives trading)

By Noah Sin and Alun John

HONG KONG, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) said trading in its derivatives market will resume on Friday after being suspended on Thursday afternoon due to software issues.

HKEX said derivatives trading will resume after detailed investigation with its software vendor and subsequent system testing, it said in a statement published late on Thursday.

Derivatives trading was halted just as local stocks slipped on profit taking, after an almost 4% rally on Wednesday when the city’s leader formally withdrew a proposed extradition bill that sparked three months of protests.

The suspension began at 1400 hours (0600 GMT) and was “due to prolonged connectivity issues on the Hong Kong Futures Automatic Trading System”, HKEX said.

The preliminary investigation into the outage has been completed, HKEX said in a separate statement in the evening. The incident was caused by software issues in the vendor supplied trading system.

It said all other markets remained fully operational, and that the clearing system for derivatives would remain open for the afternoon session.

HKEX Chief Executive Charles Li said it was a difficult decision to suspend the market, a major one that was not taken lightly.

“You would only do this if the market was no longer considered orderly,” Li said.

Even before the glitches, some investors were already taking the opportunity to sell and take profit following recent gains.

“With this (glitches) happening, people may lower their exposure more,” said Steven Leung, executive director for Institutional Sales at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

The Hang Seng Index fell as much as 0.9% in the afternoon session, before closing flat.

Earlier, the index rose 0.7%, tracking gains in other Asian markets after China said it will hold trade talks with the United States in early October, raising hopes they can de-escalate their trade war.

Index heavyweights will be most affected by the Hong Kong suspension, since some investors use index futures to hedge their exposure in these stocks, said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities.

Hong Kong property shares were down more than 2% in intraday trade. Wharf Real Estate Investment Company was the worst performer on the Hang Seng, falling 5% at one point.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Hughes, Felix Tam and Meg Shen; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Elaine Hardcastle

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