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Trading grinds to a halt in the City and £3b debt sale delayed as Bloomberg terminals go on the blink


Published 17/04/2015

Problems with the essential trading platform showed just how fragile markets are
Problems with the essential trading platform showed just how fragile markets are

Finance workers were pacing the floors of City offices today after Bloomerberg terminals – the essential platform for real-time information on trading – went on the blink.

Red-faced technicians were desperately trying to fix the $20,000-a-year service after it collapsed worldwide. Terminal users turned to Twitter to voice their anger, frustration and bemusement when they were left without essential real-time information on shares, transactions and data.

The UK debt office had to delay a £3 billion debt sale because of the outage.

“The communication chat has become vital to the sharing of information across regions and counterparties. So a global outage like this is systemically important to markets all around the world,” said Louis Gargour, the chief investment officer at London-based asset manager LNG Capital, adding that this shows just how vulnerable the market has become.

“We’re flying blind and in our office as our principal counterparties are unable to act as market makers, therefore we’re all catching up on admin because there is little else that we can do,” he added.

One Twitter-user that if the outage had hit on the day of the upcoming election, it could force the markets to close, due to the Bloomberg terminal’s reliance on trading, while some reported that bond trading deals which rely on the systems have been postponed until Monday.

Bloomberg remained silent on the matter, but sources close to the company said the outage started at around 8.15am and hit all 320,000 terminals worldwide. It is also not thought to be the result of hacking.

Some terminals regained access, however, many continued reporting patchy service.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, was one of those affected. He said: “We know there’s a problem and that’s frustrating but it’s a lack of information that’s the real issue. Our IT guys are struggling to find anyone at Bloomberg to get in contact with.

“There are unemployment figures that came out this morning and people who rely on Bloomberg will be disappointed.

“It’s not the end of the world, but it’s frustrating when you can’t get the information as quickly as you’d like. We have our own platforms, so we do have backups, but we have to adapt which is not want you want at the end of the week.”

He added: “At least I’ve had a chance to catch up on the new Star Wars trailer.”

Others saw the funny side, making jokes at Bloomberg’s expense, including pointing out the last tweet sent my Bloomberg before the outage was an article on the dangers of hackers.

Fixed income strategist, Owen Callan, wrote: “Bloomberg is down globally. I’d be buying shares of London coffee shops right now.”

Market analyst Dan Davis added: “Currently printing 5,000 “I survived the great global Bloomberg outage of 2015” T-shirts.”

And another Twitter user, barnejek, suggested a solution to Greece’s debt problems, saying: “Come on @yanisvaroufakis and @tsipras_eu ! With Bloomberg down, this is your chance to default and exit the EMU without any repercussions.”

Bloomberg was founded in 1981 by former New York-mayor and rumoured Mayor of London candidate, Michael Bloomberg.

The terminal is its core money-making product, though it also has a well-known news wire Bloomberg News as well as other publications. Its main competitor is Thomson Reuters.

Independent News Service

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