ASX wary, but confident over Y2K

The Australian Stock Exchange is approaching December 31 with a "great deal of wariness", according to an official.

Gervase Greene, ASX's media relations manager, said the exchange is "quite satisfied" with its systems compliance following a $10 million rectification project. Final tests with financial brokering houses were completed by the ASX only a few weeks ago, Green said.

Based on those final tests, "everything was OK as far as we know," he said. "We are quite satisfied with our systems, including the core system, clearance system, settlement system, trading system and options system. We are confident they will be OK.

"There is no way you will disappear into the ether if you own shares."

In terms of the Y2K readiness of the financial market, Greene said "as far as we're aware, the situation is pretty benign. "[Organisations] say they're OK, but we can't guarantee that they will be . . . they can hardly say they weren't warned," he said.

Listed companies have been required to regularly report Y2K status to the ASX throughout the year as a means to keep shareholders fully aware of the compliance of companies they deal with, Greene said.

Greene said despite a slowdown in some industries as a result of Y2K, the ASX is expecting January 2000 to be a "reasonably busy" trading period compared with previous years.

The decline in travelling over the New Year period will see more brokers at their desks in the first week on January, he said.

As reported earlier, the ASX will cease trading late on December 30 and will resume on Tuesday, January 4.

While Australia will be the among the first countries to experience the date change, the ASX will resume trading after markets in Israel and the US, Greene said.

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