(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of Hong Kong companies requested last-minute extensions on a May 15 deadline to release their audited annual results, allowing them to avoid trading suspensions for now.

At least 33 companies have filed for a waiver to the Hong Kong Exchange on the deadline, according to filings, with most of them citing Covid-19 related disruptions for the delay. The firms include distressed Chinese property developer Guangzhou R&F Properties Co., whose auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP resigned last month.  

The bourse has said it would consider such applications on a case-by-case basis. As of early Monday, at least two stocks on the Hong Kong Exchange had their trading halted. 

The small number of trading halts comes as a relief for the local stock market, where the benchmark Hang Seng Index has fallen 15% this year. Traders had been bracing for a fresh barrage of suspensions on top of dozens that had already been halted on March 31 for failing to submit unaudited results. 

Read: Hong Kong Trading Halts Freeze $15 Billion After Earnings Delays

Hong Kong’s stock market has had a bumpy ride this year amid concerns about China’s strict Covid lockdowns, rising US interest rates and a property market downturn on the mainland. China may also report the weakest monthly economic indicators since the outbreak of the pandemic two years ago on Monday. 

Trading suspension in Hong Kong can take place due to various reasons. In terms of earnings, a company’s shares will normally be halted if it doesn’t report audited results three months after the fiscal year ends, according to exchange rules. 

Due to pandemic-related delays, firms have been allowed to submit unaudited figures by March 31 and file the audited version by May 15, for which a number of firms have asked for an extension.  

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.