File picture: Denis Farrell

Johannesburg - The JSE, Africa’s largest bourse by market value, opened an hour later than normal yesterday after a technical glitch forced it to delay the start of trading. On an ordinary day the markets open at 9am.

Spokeswoman Pheliswa Mayekiso said the cause of the malfunction had not been determined but it was being investigated.

Later she said preliminary investigations indicated that the “technical issue experienced this morning on the equity market was related to a JSE database and not the equity market trading system supplied by MillenniumIT. The JSE has resolved the database issue but will investigate the root cause and communicate any findings in due course.”

The cost of the missed opportunity is unknown. “We can never foresee how much trading will take place in the first hour,” she added.

Two Johannesburg traders who did not want to be identified said trading varied and was never predictable on a day-to-day basis.

On a 21-day average, the JSE facilitates R14.5 billion worth of trades and trading was more liquid during the afternoon, around 3.30pm when the US market opened. “I’m sure it will all catch up over the long run,” one of the traders said.

The other trader said that since the JSE had insourced the management of its platform, “it has been very stable”.

The 166-member FTSE/JSE Africa all share index rose 0.01 percent to 48 647.62 points yesterday. It has gained 5.2 percent this year.

In 2011, the local bourse temporarily halted trading when its interest rate market shut down. The JSE said it had to update the platform that accommodated its equity and commodity derivatives.

In 2012, it launched a new trading platform, Millennium Exchange, which it had moved from London to its office in Johannesburg to improve operational efficiency.

According to a statement at the time, the bourse said the updated platform had the capacity for equities to be traded about 400 times faster than TradElect, the previous trading solution it had licensed from the London Stock Exchange Group.

A slight problem with that system developed when it was discovered that it generated incorrect price data.

The exchange had fixed the errors and had discovered that they related only to the daily percentage change in prices, not to the prices themselves.

The JSE initially said the problem affected the closing price value and “all other value-add fields that leverage off the closing price”.

But this proved not to be the case. – Additional reporting by Bloomberg.