July 20, 2024

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Typhoon trading: HK orders exchange to stay open during extreme weather

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Hong Kong will end its decades-long practice of shutting its markets during typhoons and major storms starting on Sept. 23. 

There was broad support to allow trading in extreme weather and to follow other cities, Chief Executive John Lee said at his weekly press conference. There will be ample time in the transition period, he said. 

The city has been an outlier among major financial hubs in having rules to close markets during severe weather. The practice was seen as increasingly antiquated after the pandemic years showed markets could function even as most workers were stuck at home.

Typically five to eight typhoons hit the city each year, but not all bring traffic and schools to a halt. 

The local government pushed hard on the change and urged coordination among the stock exchange, securities regulator and the central bank even as many smaller brokers voiced their opposition because of costs and difficulties in remaining open. 

“I believe that it’s a positive development for the Hong Kong market by removing a source of uncertainty about access to market and liquidity,” said Redmond Wong, chief China strategist at Saxo Markets. 

The trading halt also drew criticism because it stops flows through Stock Connect that links to markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen. An average of 125 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) a day traded northbound and HK$56 billion ($7.2 billion) southbound on the link in May.

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Kiuyan Wong, Bloomberg

2024-06-18 01:41:41

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