Speed Limits for Financial Markets? Not So Fast

By IMFBlog

June 1, 2017

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Newscom)

On the afternoon of May 6, 2010, a financial tsunami hit Wall Street. Stunned traders watched as graphs on their computer screens traced the vertiginous 998-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which erased $1 trillion in market value in 36 minutes.

There was little in the way of fundamental news to drive such a dramatic decline, and stocks bounced back later that day. The event, quickly dubbed the “flash crash,” focused attention on the role of high-frequency trading and algorithms in amplifying market volatility.

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Closer, Ever Closer

Over the past two decades—in line with the region’s growing role in the global economy—Asia’s equity markets have become increasingly sensitive to global financial developments. More specifically, we have discovered that equity returns in Asia generally now move in tandem with those in systemic economies. (By systemic economies, we are talking here about those countries—such as the United States and the United Kingdom which are home to major, global, financial centers such as Wall Street and the City of London.)

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