Hong Kong Scraps Monday Trading Because of Typhoon Talim

Hong Kong canceled trading in the city’s $5.2 trillion stock market on Monday because of typhoon Talim.

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong canceled trading in the city’s $5.2 trillion stock market on Monday because of typhoon Talim.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearings Ltd. made the move as the No. 8 signal — the government’s third-highest warning on a scale of five — remained in force throughout trading hours. The local observatory lowered the signal by one level to No. 3 at 4:20 p.m.

The disruption also affected China Connect Northbound trading, disrupted the stock debut of New Media Lab and forced court hearings to be postponed. The financial hub scraps morning trading of stocks, bonds and derivatives if Signal No. 8 or above is in force at 9 a.m. and cancels afternoon session if the signal isn’t lowered to No. 3 or below by noon. Also, schools are canceled, businesses are urged to exercise caution and public transportation may be affected.

Typhoon Talim, which means “sharp” or “cutting edge” in Filipino, was centered about 290 kilometers (174 miles) southwest of Hong Kong at 4 p.m. and is forecast to move west-northwest at about 18 kilometers per hour in the general direction of the Leizhou Peninsula, according to the observatory. In the past hour, it was packing maximum gusts exceeding 139 kilometers an hour in Hong Kong.

Trading halts due to severe weather are seen as increasingly antiquated given that the global finance industry adjusted to remote working amid the pandemic. They are also likely to be increasingly inconvenient, as extreme weather events linked to climate change grow more common.

With most orders now received and executed electronically, the case is growing for Hong Kong to ensure continuous trading in bad weather. Rival hub Singapore has never halted trading at its stock exchange due to weather-related events. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said earlier this year that the city will explore arrangements to allow stock trading under severe weather.

The city’s rail operator MTR Corp. said its services resumed normal operations after the alert level was lowered. 

Read more: Hong Kong to Study Allowing Stock Trading During Severe Weather

Hong Kong is typically hit by about six typhoons annually, usually from June to October, but only a fraction of those result in market and school closures. The last time was in November for Nalgae, a severe tropical storm.

The Hospital Authority said that as of 4 p.m., nine people had been injured during the typhoon period and sought medical care, while the government call center had received 55 reports of fallen trees. There were two flooding cases but no reports of landslides. 

(Updates with the alert level being lowered in second paragraph.)

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