Hong Kong stocks plummeted on Friday as the UK voted to leave the European Union. However, Financial Secretary John Tsang has said that Hong Kong is prepared for whatever happens.

Photo: StandNews/HKFP.

Stock markets around the world dived with the Hang Seng Index falling 1023.34 points, or 4.9 per cent on Friday morning.

Tsang told reporters on Friday morning as he prepared to leave for Beijing that “regarding [the EU referendum], we have made various preparations and have prepared enough liquid capital… we can probably face different situations.”

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had said to reporters on Tuesday that there will be a certain effect on the global economy if Britain exits the European Union. “Hong Kong, as highly open,[] highly international and small economic body, will suffer a relatively larger effect. Our relevant departments are paying a lot of attention to this.”

The British pound at one point collapsed to its lowest point since 1985, losing nine per cent against the dollar to US$1.3466.

As of 12:45pm Friday, a pound was worth HK$10.35.

GBP to HKD. Photo: Bloomberg.

A sharp fall in stocks activated Tokyo’s market meltdown mechanism and Japan’s stock market, which fell over 1,100 points , or seven per cent, was halted.

The yen broke 100 per US dollar at one point as investors flocked to the currency, which is viewed as a safe haven.

Gold prices rose over 5 per cent in two hours, from US$1,270.92 to US$1,336.66 between 9am and 11am Hong Kong time, as poll results showed that a “leave” vote was imminent.

As of 12:24pm, British media, including the BBC and the Guardian called results on the referendum, saying that the UK had voted to leave the EU. Around 30 local authorities have yet to declare results but leave” is leading “remain” by more than 1,000,000 votes.

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Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.