You may have noticed that the sun isn’t quite up when your alarm clock goes off these days. For most people in the US, this will change next month when Daylight Saving Time ends and we move the clocks back by an hour. You’ll be more likely to commute home after dark but it may be easier to get up in the morning. While waking up to autumn sunshine can change your outlook for the day, the way we set our clocks can have a much more far-reaching impact that your mood. Here is some trivia that will give you a peek into what time zones mean for the global financial market.
Nowadays we are used to really fast methods of transportation and instantaneous communication, but not that long ago, our world was much smaller and there weren’t that many practical reasons for knowing time differences between various parts of the world.
Astronomically speaking, high noon occurs at any given place in the world when the sun is at a 90° angle to that point on Earth. That’s the moment when you’ve had exactly half your sunlight for the day.
Originally, midnight referred to the exact middle of the period of darkness. That’s not necessarily at 12am.
Officially, the world is divided into 24 time zones. However, some countries have separate time zones that aren’t on the whole hour mark. For example, India is actually nine and a half hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Russia contains more time zones than any other country. When it’s 12pm in Moscow, it’s 9pm at the eastern end of Siberia.
If you were to draw straight lines on the world map, China would include four different time zones. But instead, the entire country is included in one zone. If you cross over China’s western border at 12pm, you’ll find that it’s only nine in the morning in Pakistan. Someone crossing over China on the eastern border into the Russian port city of Vladivostok at the exact same time would also need to adjust their watch. In Vladivostok, it would be two in the afternoon.
The “base time” that provides the reference for all the other time zones is called UTC, short for Coordinated Universal Time, also known as GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time. EST, Eastern Standard Time, which is the time zone that includes the entire East Coast of the US, is five hours behind UTC, or four hours during daylight saving time.
There are stock exchanges all around the world and that means that stock are traded ‘round-the-clock. At almost any minute throughout the day and night, there is a stock exchange open somewhere. If you call London the starting point, you can see how easy it is to track stocks around the world: Frankfurt (+1), Tokyo (+9) and Sydney (+10), and finally New York (-5). This allows stock exchanges to react to each other, enables trends to continue between them, and makes the financial market a truly global phenomenon.
DST, Daylight Saving Time, is observed in most of North America and Western Europe as well as parts of Australia and South America. DST involves moving the clock ahead by an hour during the summer – although, in some places, it gets moved by only half an hour or by 2 hours.
DST is supposed to provide another hour of daylight during normal working hours. The efficiency of this plan isn’t totally clear and there are plenty of people who advocate getting rid of it altogether. On the other hand, there are people who suggest extending DST or even moving the clock ahead an additional hour at the very end of the summer.