Markets disrupted, by not tamed, by tremors

Banks, securities firms have trouble contacting clients

A man walks past a monitor of an Internet service point in Hong Kong yesterday. Telecommunications around Asia were disrupted after an earthquake hit ...

A man walks past a monitor of an Internet service point in Hong Kong yesterday. Telecommunications around Asia were disrupted after an earthquake hit ...

Financial firms including HSBC Holdings Plc and Daiwa Securities Group Inc. reported customer services and trading in Asia were disrupted after earthquakes near Taiwan damaged telecommunications cables.
HSBC customers were unable to access online banking service in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, said Vinh Tran, a spokeswoman in Hong Kong. Daiwa stopped accepting orders for Hong Kong stocks at its online trading unit and branches as of 1:08 p.m. in Tokyo, said spokesman Hiroharu Misawa.
The disruptions did little, however, to stifle the buoyant mood in markets across the region yesterday with Hong Kong, Sydney, Shanghai, Wellington and Jakarta all striking a best ever finish.
Singapore notched-up a record intraday high and Manila hit a nine-and-a-half year peak while strong gains in Tokyo also lent support around the region.
Bangkok and Taipei bucked the trend and closed flat while Seoul succumbed to profit taking as investors squared off ahead of year's end.
Yet securities traders in Hong Kong and Singapore were unable to obtain prices and complete orders after networks linking financial companies were disrupted by the quake damage. Hong Kong's PCCW Ltd. said it only had 50 percent of its telephone capacity in the region, disrupting services to companies including First State Investments in Singapore.
"We can't get in touch with Japan. We've had other brokers come to us to give us orders because they can't do it," said Andrew Clarke, a sales-trader at SG Securities Hong Kong Ltd. "We're basically using mobile phones to place orders."
Getting cut off
Online unit Daiwa Direct wasn't able to provide some overseas stock information to customers, Misawa said. Clients of Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan's biggest securities firm, had problems trading when communications between Hong Kong and some other Asian markets were disrupted until 2 p.m. Japan time, said Hiroshi Imamura, a spokesman at Nomura in Tokyo.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Japan brokerage had problems with cross-border trading between Japan and Hong Kong and other overseas offices, and with communications within the company, said Mika Watanabe, a spokeswoman in Tokyo.
Matsui Securities Co., Japan's third-biggest online broker, said pricing information on Chinese stocks was delayed or unavailable, in a notice on its Web site yesterday.
"Our clients haven't been able to trade Chinese shares smoothly because of the data outage," Hironori Noto, an official at Matsui Securities, said by telephone. "About 250 customers trade Chinese stocks with us every day."
Smaller online broker Rakuten Securities Inc. said it was been unable to update share prices.
"We were last able to refresh our data at 10:45 a.m.," said Yuji Kusunoki, head of Rakuten Securities. The company, which obtains prices through Reuters, is still having problems conducting trades because prices aren't being updated. "We still don't know when the feeds will be back," Kusunoki added.
Merrill Lynch & Co. suffered some disruption to operations in Taiwan, though no customers were affected, said Tsukasa Noda, a spokesman at Merrill in Tokyo. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had "no major issues" in Japan, Tokyo spokeswoman Sumiko Iwadate said, declining to comment on the firm's other Asian operations.
At least two people were killed and 42 injured when three quakes struck southern Taiwan yesterday, the second-year anniversary of the 2004 Asian tsunami, the island's National Fire Agency said.

Updated : 2021-01-24 02:59 GMT+08:00