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Chinese property stocks rally as banks pledge $38 bln in credit support

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HONG KONG — Chinese property shares jumped on Thursday after the country’s biggest commercial banks agreed to provide at least $38 billion in fresh credit lines to cash-strapped developers, adding to recent regulatory support measures to revive their business.

The stock prices of China Vanke, Country Garden , China Overseas Land, China Resources Land , CIFI Holdings and Greentown China rose between 3.4% and 11.1% in Hong Kong.

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A gauge tracking the sector, the Hang Seng Mainland Property Index, rose 5.3%.

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Four of China’s biggest banks have agreed to provide fundraising support to property developers, including industry giants Vanke and Country Garden, in a coordinated effort to support the embattled property sector.

Banks are making efforts to follow a regulatory call to bolster the sector, but most of the new loans will go to state-backed developers, Shujin Chen, analyst with Jefferies, said in a note issued on Thursday.

“Private developers that already defaulted on public debts will still struggle,” she said.

Beijing has been stepping up measures in recent weeks to support the property sector, which has been hit by a debt crisis.

The sector has been reeling under mounting debts, defaults, slower sales and construction suspensions, after the authorities initiated a campaign to rein in excessive borrowing by developers.

Several developers have defaulted on their offshore debt obligations over the past year, fueling a sector-wide downturn that has weighed on the world’s second-largest economy.

To ease the liquidity crunch, the central bank on Wednesday issued a notice outlining 16 steps to support the sector.

These include local financial firms allowing real estate companies to defer repayment of some loans, such as property development and trust loans, Reuters reported last week, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. (Reporting by Xie Yu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edmund Klamann)

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