Typhoon Higos shuts down Hong Kong as it bears down on Guangdong and Hainan in mainland China

HONG KONG/GUANGZHOU (BLOOMBERG, XINHUA) – Hong Kong was hit by its strongest typhoon this year, cancelling morning trading in the city’s $5.8 trillion (S$7.9 trillion) local stock market, shutting many businesses and disrupting public transportation.

The No 8 storm signal, the third-highest on the Hong Kong Observatory’s scale, is in place after it was lowered from 9 earlier this morning.

Winds with mean speeds of 63km per hour or more are expected, the observatory said.

The signal will be lowered to No 3 between 11am and 1pm local time, it said in a statement on its website.

Most businesses close and public transport becomes limited when No 8 signal or above is in place.

The city is already facing its toughest social distancing restrictions so far due to a flare up of coronavirus cases, with restaurants forced to close at 6pm, public gatherings of more than two people banned and school lessons taking place online.

There will be no morning session in the stock market and northbound trading of mainland equities via exchange links will also be scrapped for the morning, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing said in a statement.

Under exchange rules, the morning trading session will be cancelled if signal No 8 or above is still in place at 9am.

If the signal isn’t lowered before noon, the entire day’s trading will be abandoned.

HKEX is due to report its first-half earnings at noon and hold a media briefing in the afternoon.

At 9am, Higos was centred about 130km west of Hong Kong’s observatory and is forecast to move northwest or west-northwest at about 25 kph inland and weaken gradually, the observatory said.

As of 5am, authorities had received nine reports of fallen trees, and one flood report, while two people were injured and sought treatment at hospital, local media RTHK reported.

in 2018, the city raised the maximum No 10 signal when Typhoon Mangkhut left the city with roads blocked, buildings damaged and low-lying areas flooded.

Meanwhile, local authorities in China’s Guangdong Province said Typhoon Higos made landfall in the city of Zhuhai with a maximum wind force of 35 metres per second.

The tropical cyclone – the seventh formed in the pacific this year – landed in the coastal area of Jinwan District at around 6am.

It is expected to make its landfall in the coastal areas between Jiangmen and Zhanjiang cities in western Guangdong on Tuesday night. 

Ferry service across the Qiongzhou Strait between Hainan and Guangdong provinces would be suspended as provincial authorities urged drivers to plan their departure times to avoid delays, China Daily reported.

Coastal cities and counties in the region are experiencing heavy rains and rain.

The Guangdong government has ordered local authorities in affected areas to introduce measures to protect the lives and property of residents and minimise economic losses, according to China Daily.

Tourists in the west coast must evacuate to safe areas before Higos arrives, the notice said.

Major construction works have been ordered to stop while fishing boats were told to seek shelter.

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