SGX Shutdown Explained: Exchange Provides Details on Disruption

Last week's trading disruption was caused by a disk failure and an application that did not initially detect the problem.

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) went offline Thursday, after a technical disruption caused a series of delays that left investors searching for answers. In the aftermath of the delays a statement was released by SGX’s CEO Loh Boon Chye, apologizing for the inconvenience, though until now there has been a definitive lack of details surrounding the darkness.

To recap, on Thursday the SGX went dark for nearly five hours of live trading, ultimately coming back online early Friday. The lag caused a large amount of frustration and anger from investors whose orders had essentially been unfulfilled prior to the opening Friday. Last week’s delay was also the third time that trading had been suspended as a result of technical difficulties – August and October 2015 both saw similar delays.

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Speaking at the time, SGX’s CEO Loh Boon Chye reiterated: “I wish to sincerely apologize on behalf of all at SGX for the many inconveniences I’m aware that we’ve caused. We’re not pleased with our own recovery time and it needs to be better. We’ll do better.” Trading was originally supposed to resume at 14:00 local time and 16:00 local time, but ultimately came back online Friday morning at 9:00 local time.

New Details Provided

The origin of the disruption had been determined today, after a series of investigations into the SGX’s framework found that last week’s event was caused by a disk failure and an application that did not initially detect the problem. Moreover, the disruption itself was ongoing and lengthened given logistical challenges in the orders and trade reconciliation process.

A timeline was as follows:

  • 09:38 hours – SGX detected Input/Output errors on a disk – the application did not detect the disk failure, failing to automatically cutover to SGX’s backup secondary system
  • 10:12 hours – SGX initiated a manual cutover from the primary to secondary systems
  • 11:38 hours – trading ceased after clearing confirmation messages not generated
  • 11:51 hours – members granted ability to reconcile and manage their orders
  • 14:00 hours – trading fails to resume as scheduled
  • 16:00 hours – trading again fails to resume as scheduled
  • 09:00 hours (Friday) – trading officially resumes
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