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Xi plots prudent response to Evergrande crisis

The China Evergrande Group plot is thickening on two fronts at arguably the worst possible moment for Xi Jinping’s economy.

One is the suspension on Monday of shares in Evergrande and its property management unit as questions emerge about the wherewithal of the most indebted developer to meet fresh debt-payment tests. The second involves mounting questions about whether a smaller developer, Fantasia Group Holding, can meet a US$210 million bond maturity.

Though a bit player compared to Evergrande, Fantasia’s failure to make interest payments last month underscores broader and intensifying risks to global credit markets already on edge.

On September 29, S&P Global slashed Fantasia’s rating to “CCC,” a decidedly speculative grade, from “B” in one move. The problem is that when S&P warns of substantial risks that Fantasia might fail to repay obligations over the next six months, it could be talking about a whole range of big companies in China’s most important domestic industry.

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