Shares in China Evergrande Group have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong, the property developer announced on Monday. The company did not give a reason.
Leaving us to speculate and there’s plenty to speculate with.
Evergrande missed new coupon payments of $255 million due last Tuesday–both have a 30-day grace period. The company as has been its practice on missed payments didn’t comment.
On Friday, Evergrande dialled back plans to repay investors in its wealth management products, saying each investor in its wealth management product could expect to receive $1,257 per month as principal payment for three months irrespective of when the investment matures, the Guardian reported.
Shares of Evergrand lost 89% in 2021, closing at HK$1.59 (or $0.20).
Evergrande isn’t the only property developer to face a “liquidity crunch” (to put a nice name on a crisis that stinks with fraud and a massive Ponzi scheme.) China’s property developers will need to find at least $197 billion in January to cover maturing bonds, coupons, trust products and deferred wages to millions of migrant workers, according to Bloomberg calculations. The Chinese government has urged builders like China Evergrande Group to meet payrolls by month-end in order to avoid the risk of social unrest. (Developers must also find $172 billion in backdated pay owed to construction workers before the Lunar New Year starts at the beginning of February.)
Bond payments for stressed development companies are larger in January than November and December combined. Other developers at risk of default include Kaisa, which missed a huge repayment in December and which has twice suspended its shares in recent months. Analysts at Standard & Poor’s have estimated that one-third of Chinese developers could face a liquidity crunch in the next 12 months.
And economists project that Beijing’s future emphasis is likely to be on ensuring homes are delivered. (While China’s central bank provides stimulus to the larger economy.) The People’s Bank is encouraging financial firms to help acquisition activity in the real estate sector.
The most dramatic news of the day, however, comes from Chinese media reporting that Evergrande was ordered by authorities in southern Hainan province to demolish 39 buildings in the huge Ocean Flower resort-style development in 10 days because the building permits were illegally obtained.