China plans $29 bn in special loans to troubled developers: Report

will offer 200 billion yuan ($29.3 billion) in special loans to ensure stalled housing projects are delivered to buyers, people familiar with the matter said, ramping up financing support for its beleaguered property sector.

The previously unreported size of the lending program, which was announced with scant details by China’s housing ministry, finance ministry and the central bank late Friday, would make it the biggest financial commitment yet from Beijing to contain a property crisis that’s seen home prices slump and sales plummet.

Hundreds of thousands of middle-class Chinese have been caught in limbo after making down payments and taking out loans on properties that cash-strapped developers are now struggling to complete. Some homebuyers have started to boycott mortgage payments, a threat to social stability during the politically sensitive run-up to the Communist Party’s leadership transition later this year.

The People’s Bank of and the Ministry of Finance will channel the money through policy banks such as Development Bank and Agricultural Development Bank of China, said the people, who asked not be identified discussing private information. The special loans will only be used on homes that have already been sold but are yet to be finished.

The PBOC, the Ministry of Finance and the housing ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

“We view the central government’s introduction of bailout funding as the first meaningfully positive development in the past five to six weeks,” said Jizhou Dong and Stella Guo, analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc. in a note on Sunday. They expected the funding would need to reach at least 200 billion yuan to 300 billion yuan as an initial investment to be effective.

Urged to boost overall lending to support the nation’s flagging economy, Chinese banks cut their benchmark lending rates for a second time since May 20. That came after the central bank last week unexpectedly lowered its key policy rate to support growth.

The rate cuts were the latest in a series of actions intended to help the sector as the liquidity crisis is exacerbating a slowdown in the world’s second-largest . China is poised to miss its growth target of around 5.5% this year and youth unemployment is at a record 20%.

Earlier this year, China allowed banks and bad-debt managers to loosen restrictions on some loans to ease a cash crunch. In April, the central bank held a meeting with about 20 major banks and asset-management firms to help resolve crises at a dozen large firms including China Evergrande Group. Local authorities have offered a variety of housing incentives, including lowering down-payment requirements and even encouraging families with more children to own multiple properties.

However, China’s dogged pursuit of Covid zero, including reoccuring lockdowns, and an increase in bad debt have dimmed confidence and made banks reluctant to lend. Bank loans to the real estate sector have dropped for the first time in 10 years, and the decline could persist, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kristy Hung.

Pandemic bolsters China’s status as world’s factory

China has consolidated its position as the manufacturer of the world in the last two years. Its efforts were boosted in part by the restrictions due to the Covid-induced lockdowns the world over. Though some of its gains may fade as the pandemic loosens its chokehold over the world, but the trend shows that the loss in exports of other countries were directly or indirectly a gain for China. China’s share in global goods exports rose in value terms since the pandemic started, from 13 per cent in 2019 to 15 per cent as 2021 neared its end, according to the data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. China’s quick emergence from the initial shock of Covid-19 in 2020 gave its factory floors a first-mover advantage (Agencies).


City trims mall hours over heat-induced power crisis

The Chinese city of Chongqing is shortened the opening hours of its malls from Monday due to an “urgent” power supply situation caused by a recent heatwave, the government said in a notice dated August 21. The measures mean dozens of shopping malls in districts across the southwestern city must adjust their business hours to 4-9 pm (0800-1300 GMT) to “ensure the safe and orderly supply of power and ensure the basic needs of the masses”, the Chongqing Economic And Information Commission said. The measures will continue until further word from the authorities based on the temperature and supply and demand situation, the notice said (Reuters).

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