German government to agree law on high-speed trading

4070565555_c300,200,50,50,100Berlin – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition will on Monday decide on changes to a draft law to clamp down on ultra-fast trading on stock exchanges, which it sees as stoking excessive market turbulence.

High-frequency traders use computer algorithms to generate numerous, lightning-speed automatic trades that make money from tiny price differences in the market.

These trades hold investments for short periods only and have been blamed for causing market volatility, such as the “flash crash” in the United States in May 2010, when the stock market fell more than 1,000 points, or nearly 10 percent, within minutes.

Keen to avoid similar crashes on German exchanges, Merkel’s government wants to implement regulation requiring traders to register with stock exchange regulators and disclose their algorithms.

It also wants to limit the number of decimal points given in market prices and to prevent traders from requesting pricing information without intending to trade.

Other practices like “scalping”, which involves using misleading market signals to influence prices, will be classed as misuse.

Once the coalition has agreed on amendments to the draft law with the Bundestag lower house of parliament’s finance committee, it will need to be approved by the German parliament. Parliament is expected to approve the changes, as the coalition holds a majority in both the committee and the parliament.

The German government’s move to clamp down on speed trading comes as the European Union also plans to tighten regulation on such practices.

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One Response to German government to agree law on high-speed trading

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