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Singapore Traders Are About to Get Their First Lunch Break in Six Years

Andrea Tan
Pedestrians walk through the reception of the Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX) headquarters in Singapore, on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. SGX posted its first quarterly profit growth in more than a year after a world-beating rally in Chinese stocks spurred demand for derivatives.

Imagine not having a lunch break for 6 1/2 years. For stock brokers in Singapore, that’s about to end.

Starting Monday, some 3,000 of them will be able to step out for an hour from noon for a midday trading intermission, taking a break at the same time as their counterparts in Hong Kong, though for a shorter period than the 90 minutes enjoyed by traders in Malaysia, the Philippines and mainland China. The region’s longest lunch is the two-hour pause in Thailand.

The city’s benchmark Straits Times Index is on pace for its best showing in five years. The gauge is up 19 percent this year, the biggest annual gain since 2012 -- though it lags behind the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index’s 32 percent increase.

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“It’s a relief that we managed to get our lunch breaks back,” said Ernest Lim, a 36-year-old commission-based equity trader at CIMB Securities Singapore Pte. “In our high-pressure jobs, it does us -- especially the more active and hardworking remisiers -- and our clients good if we can eat in peace and reinvigorate ourselves.”

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