Ticking away

Brokers Preparing to Add a Leap Second Later Tonight

The so-called leap second is prompting some brokers to briefly halt trading around 23:59 GMT due to the extra second

Brokerages are preparing their systems for what could be a disturbing event for computer systems later tonight as the world adds an extra second to the clocks in order to adjust atomic clocks with astronomical time.

The event takes place on June 30th at 23:59:59 GMT when an extra second will be added to mark 23:59:60 GMT, an event which some computer systems could be ill-prepared for if no additional effort has been put in.

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The leap second is typically added occasionally to clocks worldwide in order to compensate for the Earth’s gradually slowing rotation.

According to an official announcement, OANDA will be one of the brokerages to take extra caution at this rather quiet trading time and halt trading on the fxTrade platform at 23:59:00 GMT.

The company has communicated that it expects the outage to last no more than a couple of minutes, securing enough time for the systems of the broker to double check any ramifications on pricing or execution on the electronic markets.

We will allow trading to resume as soon as we confirm that market rates are stable

The official statement of the company reads, “We will allow trading to resume as soon as we confirm that market rates are stable, no later than 20:15:00 ET, and hopefully much sooner than that.”

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Traders will still have the ability to log-in to their accounts during the outage, the change will merely affect trading.

Some markets in Asia will be open at the time when the leap second is added this year. Different exchanges around the globe are approaching the leap second in a different manner, which could cause some, albeit temporary issues.

In the world of high-frequency trading (HFT) a second amounts to a century

In the world of high-frequency trading (HFT) a second amounts to a century and any possible vulnerabilities in the trading systems are subject to close scrutiny.

Asian markets are to remain open, while U.S. exchanges, some of which will still be in after-hours trading mode, will make some adjustments in order to stop trading around the critical time.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. will be delaying the opening of some of their electronic trading products until after 00:00 GMT on the 1st of July. There are a number of derivatives contracts, including widely used retail traders indices and commodities futures, which are continuously traded throughout the Asian session.

The last time a leap second was added in 2012, a number of companies reported technical issues, including LinkedIn, Reddit, Yelp and Australian airline Qantas. In contrast to this time around, three years ago the extra second was added over a weekend.

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