Outcry at IPE operational failure

Outcry at IPE operational failure

A systems glitch shut down the electronic trading platform at London's International Petroleum Exchange for almost two hours on Thursday, just a day before the exchange switched to an all-electronic operation.

According to a Financial Times report, electronic trading in Brent crude oil futures was suspended for 90 minutes due to an 'operational error' relating to the input of a reference price. Trading resumed at 1150GMT after two stoppages.

Although Richard Ward, IPE chief executive, told the FT that the systems failure was caused by 'human error' and not by technical issues with the electronic trading platform, the glitch un-nerved traders already wary of the IPE's switch to screen-based trading today. A trader at Man Financial told the FT that the firm had lost a third of its morning trading volume because of the problem.

Despite the problems, the IPE's trading pit closed for the final time yesterday after 25 years. Many of the 100+ traders that lost their jobs are expected to move to New York Merchantile Exchange's rival outcry dealing floor in Dublin, which was opened last year. Nymex plans to move the Dublin operations to London later this year.

The closure of the IPE pit leaves the London Metal Exchange as the City's last open outcry marketplace.

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