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Pressure Mounts On China Evergrande As Bonds And Shares Tumble

Fresh downgrades have been issued for the Chinese property giant, which has been scrambling to raise funds to pay lenders and suppliers, sparking concerns of a debt crisis that could send shockwaves through the country’s banking system

The China Evergrande Centre in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Reuters.

 

The rout of bonds and shares of China Evergrande Group deepened on Tuesday with one exchange-traded note tumbling more than 20%, as the company faced fresh downgrades over its ability to restructure its massive debts.

Debts at Evergrande, the country’s No2 developer, have triggered warnings from regulators worried that its 1.97 trillion yuan ($305.02 billion) of liabilities could spark broader financial risks if not stabilised.

Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday that it had downgraded the corporate family rating (CFR) of China Evergrande Group and its subsidiaries, following a damaging ratings downgrade by domestic agency China Chengxin International last week. 

 

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“The [Moody’s] downgrades reflect Evergrande’s heightened liquidity and default risks given its sizable amount of maturing debt over the next 6-12 months,” Cedric Lai, Moody’s vice-president and senior analyst said in a statement.

“The downgrades also reflect the weak recovery prospects of Evergrande’s creditors, if there is a default,” added Lai.

Evergrande’s shares fell nearly 9% at one point on Tuesday to touch their lowest level since July 2015, and the company’s Shenzhen-traded 5.9% May 2023 bond, fell as much as 20.45%, extending a drop of more than 35% a day earlier.    

China Chengxin International’s downgrade last week made Evergrande’s onshore bonds ineligible for use as collateral in repo transactions, prompting a sell-off that triggered trading halts on Friday and Monday.

 

DEBT CRISIS FEARS

Worries surrounding Evergrande, which has been scrambling to raise funds to pay lenders and suppliers, have grown into broader concerns that a debt crisis could send shockwaves through China’s banking system.

Traders said thin market liquidity of onshore bonds meant that a single trade can have an outsized impact on the bonds’ prices.

Evergrande’s offshore bonds continued to trade at about a quarter of their face value, according to data provider Duration Finance.

 

‘BUMPY PATH’

The company’s shares finished down 7.75% on the day in Hong Kong at HK$3.570 after Goldman Sachs cut the company to “sell” from “neutral” and reduced its price target for Evergrande shares to HK$3.0 from HK$15.60. 

“We expect the company’s deleveraging path to be bumpy, which could lead to deep price discounts for its property sales and potential asset disposal,” Goldman Sachs analysts said.

Evergrande shares have fallen more than 18% this month, and more than 76% this year.

The company said last week that it faces default risks if it fails to resume construction, dispose of more assets and renew loans.

 

  • Reuters and Sean O’Meara

 

Read more:

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China Evergrande Warns of Default Risks, H1 Profit More Than Doubles

 

Sean OMeara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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