China regulator plans to improve balance sheets of ‘good quality’ developers

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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China needs to implement plans to improve the balance sheets of “good quality” property developers reeling from a cash crunch in the sector, the head of the country’s securities regulator said on Monday.

“(We) need to closely pay attention to the difficulties and challenges facing the property industry,” Yi Huiman, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said during a financial forum in Beijing, Chinese media Yicai reported.

The comments come as Beijing steps up its support measures for the country’s embattled property sector, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the economy, with the deepening debt-crisis also hitting developers with relatively stronger balance sheets.

China’s property sector has slowed sharply in the past year as the government sought to restrict excessive borrowing. The clampdown triggered falls in property sales and prices, bond defaults and the suspension of construction.

Yi said support was needed to carry out plans to improve the balance sheets of good-quality developers, facilitate merger and acquisition deals and related financing demand, and meet reasonable financing demand by property companies via bonds.

Chinese regulators earlier this month outlined 16 steps to support the industry, including loan repayment extensions, in a major push to ease the deep liquidity crunch which has plagued the property sector since mid-2020.

Last week, two private developers Longfor Group Holdings Ltd and Midea Real Estate Holding Ltd received green light to raise a total of 35 billion yuan ($5 billion) in debt.