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Hong Kong Raises Storm Signal, May Delay Market Opening

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong issued its third-highest storm signal for the first time this year as Severe Typhoon Utor sweeps past China’s financial center, possibly delaying the opening of the city’s stock market today.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised the No. 8 Southeast Gale or Storm Signal at 1:40 a.m. local time today, and expects it to remain in force in the morning, according to a statement on its website.

According to its published rules, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. will cancel premarket trading today should signal 8 still be in force between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., with the morning trading session to begin at least two hours after the signal is dropped. There will be no morning session if the warning is lowered after 9 a.m. and no trading for the day if it’s still in force after noon.

At 6 a.m., winds with sustained speeds as high as 108 kilometers (67 miles) per hour were measured in the previous hour, the observatory said. Utor was centered about 280 kilometers south-southwest of Hong Kong and is forecast to move northwest at about 16 kilometers per hour toward the western coast of China’s Guangdong province, the observatory said.

The storm will pass about 250 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong during the day, the weather bureau said.

Last year, Severe Typhoon Vicente, the most serious storm to hit Hong Kong since 1999, brought schools, banks and flights to a halt as it felled trees throughout the city and damaged a coal conveyor belt. Hong Kong gets on average about six tropical cyclones annually, according to the weather bureau.

Flight Cancellations

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Asia’s biggest international carrier, canceled 15 flights and delayed six today because of the storm, and its Dragonair regional unit canceled 16 services, according to e-mailed press releases last night.

All morning and full-day schools have been suspended, the government said in a press release.

The Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal and China Ferry Terminal have closed temporarily because of the storm signal, the city government said press releases. Most New World First Bus and Citybus routes have been suspended until further notice, government broadcaster RTHK said on its website.

One woman has been admitted to a hospital and is in stable condition, the government said in a press release, without giving the nature of her injuries. Three trees have fallen and there are no reports of flooding or landslides, it said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hwee Ann Tan in Hong Kong at hatan@bloomberg.net; Joshua Fellman in New York at jfellman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hwee Ann Tan at hatan@bloomberg.net

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