Payment of the China Evergrande bond remains uncertain

China Evergrande, the real estate giant whose financial woes rocked global markets earlier this week, again left investors in a state of uncertainty on Thursday with the fate of an 83 million interest payment. dollars still unresolved.

Payment, on Evergrande’s dollar-denominated bonds, was due Thursday. At the end of the business day in New York City, the company still had not publicly said whether it had made the payment or planned to do so.

A bondholder, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the case, said he had not been paid. But, the person noted, the company’s covenants give it a 30-day grace period before the missed payment results in default, meaning debtors in limbo can continue.

The concern extends to landowners and policymakers in China who would face the fallout from a possible default. A constant stream of negative news from Evergrande has caused panic in the markets and raised fears of possible economic contagion, including outside of China – in the event of bankruptcy of the company. Unable to sell part of his business sprawl or raise new money from the sale of new properties, Evergrande also faces angry suppliers, homebuyers and employees, some of whom have protested. and claimed their money.

Tensions in global financial markets have eased more recently, in part when Chinese officials intervened to boost confidence – including injecting billions of dollars in capital into the country’s banking system – and also after several executives of banks and central bank officials outside of China said the impact on institutions in the United States and Europe is expected to be minimal.

On another key question for investors, whether China will directly bail out Evergrande, so far Beijing has been low key while stressing that no Chinese company is too big to fail.

This helped Evergrande say on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with investors on a different payment due for mainland Chinese bondholders.

Given this development, Houze Song, a researcher at the Paulson Institute in Chicago, said Evergrande was likely to make Thursday’s interest payment. He said bondholders and Evergrande could eventually strike a short-term deal that involves debt holders losing some of their exposure to Evergrande.

The fate of Evergrande and what its failure could mean for the Chinese economy has divided some of the world’s best-known investors. Billionaire investor George Soros recently argued that an Evergrande collapse would trigger a wider economic crash, while another billionaire investor, Ray Dalio, argued this week that an Evergrande default was “manageable. “.

Investors in dollar-denominated debt include Swiss bank UBS, asset manager BlackRock, UK bank HSBC Holdings, as well as a number of hedge funds. The bonds are linked to various private and public companies that are part of Evergrande but separate from its main real estate business, including an electric vehicle division. These companies could still have value even if the real estate industry collapses.

Despite the lingering uncertainty, equity investors appear to be expecting a better result for Evergrande than at the start of the week. In Hong Kong, Evergrande shares rose nearly 18%, and on Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed more than 1% higher, recouping its steep losses from the start of the week – in part because executives of two of Evergrande’s creditors downplayed the risk. .

Ralph Hamers, chief executive of UBS, told an investor conference Thursday that the bank’s direct exposure to Evergrande was “intangible”, adding that his problems “did not keep me from sleeping at night “, according to a transcript of the software. Sentieo company.

Noel Quinn, chief executive of HSBC, admitted at the same conference that the challenges of Evergrande could seep further into the equity and credit markets.

“I would be naive to think that market turmoil does not have the potential to have a second and third order impact,” he said, calling Evergrande’s situation “concerning”.

A representative for BlackRock declined to comment.

Central bankers outside of China also downplayed the risk this week. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell on Wednesday called Evergrande’s problems “peculiar to China” during a press briefing, and on Thursday, Sam Woods, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England told Reuters that the exposure of British banks and insurance companies to Evergrande is “not important.”


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