Hong Kong’s financial markets come to a halt on Typhoon Kompasu warning

·3-min read

Businesses in Hong Kong ground to a halt on Wednesday because of severe weather, with the Observatory deciding to extend the Signal 8 warning until 4pm.

Trading in stocks and derivatives, the bullion exchange and banks across the city were to remain closed for the entire day.

The morning session of stock and futures trading had earlier been cancelled under the trading rules of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

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The Gold and Silver Exchange Society also cancelled floor trading in the morning, but electronic trading continues.

Also, banking services at all branches across the city, numbering over 1,100, were suspended for the entire day due to the inclement weather, the Hong Kong Association of Banks said.

The Observatory upgraded the typhoon warning to 8, the third-highest level, at 5:20pm local time on Tuesday as Kompasu edged closer to the city. This is the second time in four days a Signal 8 has been raised, which means wind speeds of 63 kilometres per hour.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 1.4 per cent on Tuesday from a four-week high after tech stocks surrendered all of their gains from Monday.

HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin struggles to understand why trading halts during bad weather

Markets in mainland China remained open for business as usual, with stocks dropping for a third day as traders awaited a set of key economic data amid concerns that the regulatory scrutiny and the power crisis will derail growth in the Asian nation.

The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.7 per cent to 2,522.43 in early trading. The CSI 300 Index of the biggest companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses slipped 0.2 per cent.

Some financial events in Hong Kong were also called off because of the storm.

The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA), the pension regulator, rescheduled a media briefing on industry developments to next week.

Typhoon signal No 8 was raised as tropical storm Kompasu neared the city. Photo: Dickson Lee
Typhoon signal No 8 was raised as tropical storm Kompasu neared the city. Photo: Dickson Lee

This is the second time this year local financial markets and banks have had to suspend operations because of extreme weather. On the previous occasion in July, trading was cancelled due to the black rainstorm signal.

Bright Smart Securities, one of the largest retail brokerages in Hong Kong, in July took out ads in newspapers urging the Hong Kong stock exchange to review its trading suspension rules during typhoons and heavy rain. It said that there was no need to stop trading as it was conducted electronically.

However, some other brokers called for a status quo, citing safety concerns for their staff in case of bad weather.

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