Looming Evergrande bond coupon payments intensify contagion fears

FILE PHOTO: The logo of China Evergrande is seen at outside China Evergrande Centre building in Hong Kong, China September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – As China Evergrande Group looks set to miss its third round of bond payments in three weeks, markets are shifting their focus to other indebted property developers as a wall of debt payment obligations come due in the near-term.

A total of $38.8 billion offshore bonds issued by 40 Chinese developers will be maturing from Oct to end of 2022, according to brokerage CGS-CIMB, with the next peak of $6.2 billion in payments coming up in January.

The deadline for Evergrande’s $148 million of coupon payments is 0400 GMT Tuesday, but bondholders hadn’t received anything by end of Asian trading on Monday. Markets expect the distressed developer is likely to miss payments again, following two other payments it missed in September.

High-yield Chinese bond markets were routed once again on Monday as fears about fast-spreading contagion in the $5 trillion sector, which drives a sizable chunk of the Chinese economy, continued to savage sentiment.

“We see more defaults ahead if the liquidity problem does not improve markedly,” said CGS-CIMB in a note, adding developers with weaker credit rating are very difficulty to get refinancing at the moment.

Small developers Modern Land and Sinic Holdings were the latest scrambling to delay deadlines, after Evergrande and Fantasia missed their payments since September.

Modern Land requested bondholders on Monday to delay a repayment due later this month for three months, while Sinic said it would likely default next week.

Shares of Modern dropped over 3% on Tuesday to new low.

Evergrande’s electric vehicles unit shares jumped over 10%, however, after it vowed to start producing cars next year.

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