World

End is near for Hong Kong stock trading floor

HONG KONG In its heyday in the 1980s, more than a thousand brokers dressed in signature red blazers made deals on the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), in what was a raucous, competitive bear pit.

But as electronic and Internet services burgeoned, brokers drifted away to corporate offices.

With just a handful of traders remaining, the historic hall will close at the end of the month.

The cavernous red-carpeted space with its circular rows of cubicles and screens showing stock movements stands largely empty as its last occupants pack up their belongings.

"Advances in electronic trading and technology have made our work much more convenient, but now it lacks the communal atmosphere that has given me many memories," said Mr Christopher Cheung, a lawmaker representing the financial services sector who used to trade on the exchange floor.

His company, Christfund Securities, still has one employee working on the floor in case his office's computers crash.

When AFP visited, there were around 10 traders on the floor.

The brokers still bantered and bemoaned plunging stocks.

HKEX said the hall would be remade into an exhibition and event space as part of wider renovations to the building. - AFP

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