China Evergrande Group avoided a default in its biggest test since a liquidity crisis at the property developer began earlier this year, just as the country's efforts to limit the crisis's fallout gain traction.
Clearstream customers received overdue interest payments on three-dollar bonds issued by Evergrande, according to a Clearstream spokesperson. Two investors who own two of the notes confirmed receipt of the payments.
After missing initial deadlines last month, the beleaguered developer was forced to make $148.1 million in coupon payments before the end of 30-day grace periods on Wednesday. Its dollar notes are still trading at levels that indicate a high likelihood of a restructuring, but they have risen from record lows in recent weeks due to interest from distressed debt buyers.
Stocks and bonds of real estate companies rose for a second day on Thursday, following a series of articles in state media indicating that support measures are on the way to help ease the industry's distress.
Evergrande, the world's most indebted developer, has struggled to sell assets as it deals with over $300 billion in liabilities. Chinese authorities have become increasingly intolerant of massive debt accumulations that threaten financial stability, and have urged Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan to use his personal wealth to help repay Evergrande's obligations.
China's offshore bond market has been stung as a slew of other real estate firms have recently gone bankrupt. Following years of debt-fueled expansion in the sector that accounts for roughly a quarter of economic output, the property market is cooling amid a government crackdown on speculation. The Federal Reserve warned this week that if China's commercial real-estate sector deteriorates dramatically, it could spread to the United States.
Evergrande has so far avoided defaulting on any publicly traded dollar bonds, after also pulling back from the brink of default in October by paying other coupons before grace periods expired. However, the crisis at Asia's largest junk bond issuer is far from over, and the contagion it sparked has recently spread to other sectors of the credit market.
Authorities have attempted to limit the impact of wider property market distress by injecting liquidity into the financial system. Bonds and stocks of Chinese developers rose on Wednesday after the Securities Times reported that authorities are likely to relax restrictions on the country's real estate companies issuing local currency notes as part of efforts to prevent further deterioration in their financing.
However, concerns remain. A string of defaults and downgrades in the real estate industry in recent weeks has pushed junk dollar bond yields from Chinese issuers to the highest in at least a decade, at more than 24%.