Trading error erases US$3b from Taiwan oil heavyweight

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - An avalanche of apparently mistaken orders at the close knocked Taiwan's third-biggest stock down almost 10 per cent in minutes, draining US$3 billion from its market value.

Formosa Petrochemical Corp lurched from around T$116 to T$106 in a cascade of orders that culminated in a 15.2 million-share closing auction - a trade valued at more than US$55 million. This stock had averaged about 2.9 million shares of volume for full-day sessions since September.

About 90 minutes later exchange officials said they found errors were made when placing orders and that brokerages will need to apply to exchange to fix them.

The island's equity benchmark, which was up as much as 0.6 per cent earlier in the day, erased all its gains at the close. Formosa Petrochemical makes up 3.1 per cent of the Taiex.