Evergrande Avoids Default Again, But Industry Debt Concerns Remain
SINGAPORE / HONG KONG – Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group avoided a destabilizing last-minute default for the third time in the past month, a source saying Thursday that several bondholders had received payments late coupon.
Evergrande, the world’s most leveraged developer, has stumbled from maturity to maturity in recent weeks as it grapples with more than $ 300 billion in liabilities, including $ 19 billion in international market bonds.
Chinese media outlet Cailianshe reported that several bondholders received interest payments on the three bond tranches which had a total of more than $ 148 million owed last month.
The payments were made at the end of a 30-day grace period that ended on Wednesday, as was the case with two separate offshore coupon payments that were due at the end of September and for which the grace periods have taken. end at the end of last month.
A default would have resulted in a formal default by the company and triggered cross-default provisions for other Evergrande dollar bonds, exacerbating a debt crisis that is threatening the world’s second-largest economy and rocking global markets.
âThe short-term fix seems to be happening, but there is still a long way to go before this problem is resolved. These are the first days, âsaid the familiar source, referring to Evergrande and declining to be named without permission to speak to the media.
Evergrande, which is at the center of a growing liquidity crisis in China’s $ 5,000 billion real estate sector, did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on its latest bond coupon payment.
Although the developer managed to avoid a default again, the difficulties in the real estate sector have shown no signs of abating with a wall of debt coming due.
Evergrande has coupon payments totaling over $ 255 million due on December 28. He has come under pressure from his other creditors in his country and a stifling funding restriction has cast a shadow over hundreds of his residential projects.
Investor attention is now also shifting to other cash-strapped developers who have a series of offshore payments coming up in the short term, including Kaisa Group.
Kaisa has the most offshore debt of any Chinese developer after Evergrande, and sought help from creditors this week. It has coupon payments totaling over $ 59 million due Thursday and Friday.
Kaisa, which became the first Chinese real estate company to default on a foreign bond in 2015, has already missed payments on some wealth management products in her country.
The developer did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
While the US Federal Reserve this week warned that China’s struggling real estate sector could pose global risks, there is no clear indication whether Beijing will step in with a broader national plan to tackle the problem.
Chinese regulators have, however, sought in recent weeks to reassure investors and homebuyers, saying the risks were manageable and that excessive credit crunch by banks was being corrected.
Regulators and government think tanks have also held meetings with developers in recent weeks, and the market expects some easing in credit and housing policies to prevent a hard landing for the sector.
Those hopes and the Evergrande payout sparked a rally of relief among Chinese real estate stocks, with an A real estate stock index rising nearly 8%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties index rising more. by 3%.
Hong Kong-listed Evergrande stock rose 5.5% at noon.
Chinese developer bond prices, which have been hit hard in recent weeks, have risen further.
Data from Duration Finance showed that the price of China Aoyuan Group’s March 2027 5.88% bond jumped more than 30% on the day, although it continued to trade at deep levels. struggling about 36 cents on the dollar.
Bonds issued by Times China Holdings Xinyuan Real Estate, Yuzhou Group Holdings and Sunac China Holdings also rose more than 10%.
An Asian dollar-denominated high-yield bond index rose more than 1%, as Chinese high-yield corporate dollar spreads narrowed from record highs. – Anshuman Daga, Clare Jim and Andrew Galbraith / Reuters