Hong Kong Closes Stock Market as Storm Nida Shuts City

  • Observatory lowers storm signal to No. 3 as typhoon moves away
  • City’s transportation system resumes services in afternoon

Hong Kong’s stock exchange halted trading for the day as tropical storm Nida lashed the city with rain and wind, forcing schools shut and flights grounded.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued Strong Wind Signal No. 3 at 12:40 p.m. local time, as tropical storm Nida was forecast to move further into China’s Guangdong province, weakening gradually. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. said in a statement that Tuesday sessions, including after-hours futures trading, had been canceled as Storm Signal No. 8, the city’s third-highest warning, was still in force at noon.

"There’s not much to do at home anyway so I came in," said Frank Huang, head of trading at Sinopac Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong, adding he’s the only person in his office. "I had an overnight deal to work on. Japan and Singapore are still open, so there’s still trading."

Airport Authority Hong Kong said it’s expecting to handle about 500 flights until midnight Wednesday after some 156 flights were canceled because of the typhoon. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said its flights were gradually getting back to service but there may still be delays and cancellations after 2 p.m. due to the weather conditions.

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Transportation Resumes

MTR Corp., the city’s sole train operator, said it was stepping up services to peak-hour frequencies to meet the increased passenger demand. Buses and ferries were gradually resuming services. Some 218 people had sought refuge at the city’s 27 temporary shelters as of 8:40 a.m local time, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. Three people sought medical treatment at public hospitals.

There were few pedestrians on the streets of central Hong Kong earlier Tuesday amid strong winds that had knocked down a sign at a bus stop in front of the Cheung Kong Center. In a nearby commercial district, Hong Kong Cable TV showed footage of a satellite dish that had been knocked down from a building onto the street, while city authorities said there’d been 114 trees felled by winds. There were no other immediate reports of major damage.

Not all the offices in the city were empty. Hani Shalabi, head of Asia-Pacific advanced execution services at Credit Suisse Group AG, said most of his traders are working.

"Twelve other markets we are trading are open such as South Korea, Taiwan and Australia," Shalabi said by phone from his office in Hong Kong. "If you look at the floor, you wouldn’t even know" about the trading disruption, he said.

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