China

There is much to admire in China’s recovery. Between the second and third quarters, its economy expanded by 4.9 per cent. It is unique among the world’s largest economies in that the IMF expects it to avoid a contraction this year, the Financial Times reported. That owes much to Beijing’s success in stamping out Covid-19, along with the country’s manufacturing prowess. Yet, digging into the numbers, the picture is not quite as rosy as it may seem. Long before the pandemic, the world’s second-largest economy looked dangerously unbalanced.

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China Evergrande Group, the country’s most indebted property developer, on Wednesday said it has raised $555 million in a secondary share sale, settling for half its initial target and sparking a 16% drop in its share price, Reuters reported. To help pay debt, the firm sold 260.65 million shares at HK$16.50 ($2.13) each - the low end of a price range flagged by its bankers in a term sheet when the deal launched on Tuesday.

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International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday called for increased participation in debt relief for poor countries by private creditors and China, saying this was key to its success and a potential framework for debt restructurings, Reuters reported. Georgieva told a news conference that private creditor participation in a debt service suspension program for poor countries has been largely non-existent, with only three of 44 countries signed up for the program reaching out to private creditors.

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China Evergrande Group is seeking as much as HK$8.43 billion ($1.09 billion) in a share placement, accelerating efforts to shore up its balance sheet after a liquidity scare that rattled investors and Chinese regulators last month, Bloomberg News reported. The world’s most indebted developer is selling 490 million shares in a top-up placement for HK$16.50 to HK$17.20 each, a discount of as much as 14.7% to the last closing price in Hong Kong, according to terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg News.

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Sometimes, letting go is the hardest thing to do. China’s most ambitious companies have yet to learn that lesson, Bloomberg News reported in a commentary. The corporate sector has gone on a global shopping spree in recent years, buying expensive assets by raising new debt. Now, struggling to repay their loans, some are unwilling to part with their purchases, even as they walk to the brink of bankruptcy. The end result can only be untimely defaults. Consider Tianqi Lithium Corp., China’s largest lithium carbonate producer and a key supplier to the buzzing electric vehicle industry.

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China Evergrande Group shares fell after the embattled developer completed about 71% of its sales target in the two months through October, offering its steepest discount in history that could squeeze margins, Bloomberg News reported. The shares fell as much as 2.7% after it said contracted sales were 142 billion yuan ($21 billion) between Sept. 1 and Oct. 8, according to an exchange filing Friday. It generated 173 billion yuan for the two months through October last year.

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Countries could face years of negotiations to rework their debt with China as a growing number of loans run into trouble following decades of aggressive lending by the world’s largest official creditor, Bloomberg News reported. Chinese lenders at times lack coordination and don’t follow standard relief terms to renegotiate debt, adding uncertainty to the outcome of talks to overhaul $28 billion in loans in a number of countries, according to research by Rhodium Group, a New York-based economic and policy consultancy.

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As China’s largest property developer, Evergrande has never been short on figures to stir awe — and alarm. The company’s land reserves, built during a breakneck expansion as China urbanised, are vast enough to house roughly 10m people. But it is the $123bn in debt Evergrande amassed along the way that has led to wild trading in its shares and bonds over the past week, the Financial Times reported.

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Debt-laden China Evergrande Group, the country’s second largest property developer, has pleaded for government support to approve a restructuring plan that has languished for four years, warning it faces a cash crunch that could lead to systemic risks, according to people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported. The company, the most indebted developer in China, made the request in a letter to the government of southern Guangdong province dated Aug. 24, according to three people who confirmed the letter’s authenticity.

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China jolted markets in 2019 with three high-profile bank rescues that imposed losses on some investors, Bloomberg News reported. The appetite for experimenting with greater market discipline has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. 2020 has become the year of stealth rescues as authorities try to preempt bank failures and ensure stability for an industry at the forefront of cushioning the virus-induced economic slump.

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