The strong typhoon which killed 35 people in the Philippines, hit Hong Kong. The city raised storm signal No. 8, the highest in two years, shutting financial markets, schools, courts and government offices. But at 5 p.m. local time, as Typhoon Nesat neared at 450 kilometers, it was reduced to a strong wind signal. About 287 flights were delayed, canceled or diverted. Branches of HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc as well as Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd closed for the day and stopped operations, equities and the day’s trading. As of 2:30 p.m. local time, the typhoon was at the southern part of Hainan, China. Sanya City’s flights and railway services were cancelled. Asian stocks gained while Hong Kong markets were closed. Speculations that German lawmakers will favor a European bail-out increased regional benchmark index to its biggest 3-day gain since December.
This year and last, Hong Kong battled 7 and 11 typhoons respectively compared to 28 in 2009. Flooding and power outages were experienced in Japan due to Typhoon Roke when it passed the country this month. In August in China, Typhoon Muiffa caused economic loss of nearly $469 million. Last week’s newly opened Hong Kong Apple store along with Gucci Group, Coach Inc and Folli Follie were all closed. Hong Kong wobbled after its first quarterly contraction since 2009 and depends on its tourism industry for growth with retail sales over 20% for 5 straight months in July.
A Hong Kong Airport staff said 254 flights in all were canceled while 42 were diverted. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd spokeswoman Carolyn Leung said some flights arriving into Hong Kong were either delayed or diverted. She added that their passengers were advised to check the company website for latest flight information. Container deliveries were also suspended by the Hong Kong government. The anchor chain of a floating vessel at Sinopec Hong Kong oil terminal came loose where police authorities had to relocate 57 people. At government-owned hospitals, 25 people were treated while over 400 trees were reported to have fallen.
After the storm had passed, Sheung Wan’s Hong Kong-Macau terminal resumed operations, said the marine department. As of 3:30 p.m. local time, Citybus Ltd also resumed its services. The city bars filled up earlier as most of the city remained closed.