R98-billion computer glitch on the JSE

A computer glitch at the JSE has caused the bourse to hugely misrepresent foreign sellers of SA equities as net buyers of R98.10bn worth of local stocks from May to July 20.

Instead of foreigners investing a net R98.10bn in their South African portfolios in May, June and until July 20, the JSE said on Sunday foreigners were net sellers of an accumulative R36.4bn of SA equities in May and June and buyers of just R0.05bn in July to date.

The bourse blamed a programming error affecting the manner in which it extracts data from its core transactional systems for the incorrect calculation.

The statement read: “The correct non-resident statistics for the period are: May 2016 (net sales of R16.1bn); June 2016 (net sales of R20.3bn); July 2016 to date (net purchases of R0.05bn). This compares to the previously published non-resident statistics of the same period: May 2016 (net purchases of R6.4bn); June 2016 (net purchases of R63.8bn); July 2016 to date (net purchases of R27.9bn).”

The JSE said it took immediate steps to correct the statistics and is considering additional measures to avoid a re-occurrence.

“The programming error was corrected on 21 July 2016 and daily reports received from 22 July 2016 are accurate as is the source data.

“We recognise the importance of this data to all stakeholders and apologise for the miscalculation,” said Leanne Parsons, Director Information Services at the JSE.

Update: JSE plays down R98bn computer glitch

The JSE has played down an error that incorrectly represented foreign sellers of equities as net buyers of R98.1bn of local stocks.

The JSE said that instead of foreigners investing a net R98.10bn in SA portfolios between May and July 20, these foreigners were net sellers of an accumulative R36.4bn during the period.

Furthermore, the JSE said these foreigners were buyers of just R0.05bn in July to date.

The bourse blamed the error on a computer programming problem which impacted the manner in which data was extracted from core transactional systems.

But the JSE corrected the glitch on July 21 and has apologised for the error.

“This is unfortunate and as soon as we found out that we had an error, we addressed it immediately and corrected it,” Leanne Parsons, director of information services at the JSE, told Fin24 by phone.

“As we’ve indicated, this doesn’t affect any of our core systems and the transactional data that resides in those core systems is completely accurate,” said Parsons.

Parsons further explained that the error only relates to those “particular statistics” of non-residents and that the incorrect data came about due to a system update.

“It was correctly programmed initially but there was an improvement made to help performance and unfortunately, inadvertently, it didn’t translate into exactly the same program being implemented,” Parsons told Fin24.

“This was another program that essentially extracts data out of their other systems just to do this particular non-resident calculation. So, it wouldn’t impact any of the JSE’s core systems,” Parsons said.

Parsons also played down the impact of the error by saying that she didn’t expect it to negatively impact the market or even the South African rand.

“It may be important information that the market may look to use, but it’s unlikely in our view that this would be used for investment decisions,” Parsons said.

The markets seem to have ignored the miscalculation, with the JSE All Share index gaining 1.08% to 53 579,64 points by 12:00 and the rand trading hardly changed at R14.31/$.

“This is the first time that we are aware that we’ve had any error in our non-resident equity stats,” Parsons added.

Meanwhile, Sasfin Securities’ deputy chairperson, David Shapiro, said investors and traders should not be alarmed by the JSE’s computer glitch.

Shapiro told Fin24 that the real cash that flows will reflect in prices of shares, the rand and bond yields. “That’s already there,” said Shapiro.

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R98-billion computer glitch on the JSE