A file picture of a tropical storm. Picture: ISTOCK
A file picture of a tropical storm. Picture: ISTOCK

Hong Kong — Hong Kong scrapped trading of stocks and bonds Tuesday after tropical storm Nangka prompted authorities to shutter businesses and close schools.

The move came after the Hong Kong Observatory kept its storm signal at number 8, the third-highest on its scale, as of midday and said there was little chance of the signal being downgraded before 4pm. The warning means that winds of mean speeds of 63km/h or more are expected.

Most businesses close and public transport becomes limited when number 8 signal or above is in place. Under Hong Kong stock exchange rules, trading is abandoned for the day if the signal isn’t lowered to 3 or below before noon. A typhoon in August last disrupted trading in the city’s $5.9-trillion stock market, though it re-opened that day at 1.30pm.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Shenzhen, neighboring Hong Kong, this week. He is scheduled to deliver an address Wednesday and meet the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

At noon, Nangka was centered about 490km south-southwest of Hong Kong and is forecast to move west or west-northwest at about 22km/h towards the vicinity of Hainan Island and intensify gradually, the Observatory said on its website.

No one had sought medical treatment at public hospitals as of mid morning and authorities received six reports of fallen trees.

Not since the 1960s has Hong Kong’s observatory issued a number 8 alert for a storm passing so far away, local broadcaster RTHK reported, citing its senior scientific officer, Woo Wang-chun. Woo still called it a “prudent” move because Hong Kong is under the combined influence from Nangka and a northeast monsoon, a situation that causes stronger winds, according to the report.

The number 8 wind signal has previously been hoisted 14 times in the month of October, RTHK cited Woo as saying.

In 2018, the city raised the maximum number 10 signal when Typhoon Mangkhut left roads blocked, buildings damaged and low-lying areas flooded.

Bloomberg

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