HK braces for typhoon as businesses seen closing

HONG KONG • Hong Kong was preparing to shutter businesses as Typhoon Hato drew closer to the city, with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd scrapping flights and the local observatory warning it may raise the third-highest storm signal at midnight local time.

The tropical cyclone has continued to intensify in the past few hours and may pass within 100km south of the global financial centre, posing a “considerable threat” to the city, the Hong Kong Observatory said. The No 8 Gale or Storm Signal may be increased around midnight, it said, after the Strong Wind Signal No 3 was issued at 6:20pm yesterday. Hato, named after the Japanese word for pigeon, was estimated to be about 410km east-southeast of the city and forecast to move toward the coast of Guangdong at about 25km per hour, according to the observatory.

Cathay Pacific said a majority of flights to and from Hong Kong between 6am and 5pm today are cancelled. Most businesses close and much of the city’s public transport starts to shut down after the No 8 signal is hoisted.

The storm may also stop trading in the world’s fourth- largest equity market. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd will cancel pre-market trading if the No 8 signal is in force between 7am and 9am, according to its trading rules. The morning session will be scrapped if the warning is still in effect at 9am and tra- ding will be closed for the day if not lifted by noon. — Bloomberg