The Korea Exchange (KRX) plans to extend regular stock trading hours to revitalize the capital market and ease price limits on shares in after-hours trading.
However, most of KRX’s measures require consultation with relevant government agencies, which raises questions about the feasibility of those plans. Since financial authorities are wary of any broad interpretation of the measures, the actual implementation is not going to be easy.
“We are planning to extend after-hours trading first, and then lengthen regular trading hours. Since trading hours are related to working conditions, we need to discuss the matter with industry officials,” said Choi Kyung-soo, head of the KRX, on January 9. He added, “It will be discussed thoroughly because proponents and opponents are at loggerheads over the issue.” The extension of trading hours is also directly related to currency trading times.
The nation’s bourse operator decided to proceed with a plan to expand regular trading hours by 30 minutes, or as much as an hour. The regular trading session begins at 9 am and closes at 3 pm.
The New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Euronext have already lengthened opening hours. The Tokyo Stock Exchange, Singapore Exchange, and Hong Kong Stock Exchange are planning 30-90 minute extensions.
Local financial regulators maintained a cautious attitude toward the issue. Suh Tae-jong, head of the Capital Markets Bureau at the Financial Services Commission, said, “We have never discussed KRX’s plans in detail,” adding, “Those plans should be approached cautiously, since they cannot be decided by the government or the KRX alone.”