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Bitcoin soars close to record high

by Marko Florentino
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Thanks for joining me. China’s largest private property developer has been hit with a winding up petition as the country’s real estate crisis deepens.

Country Garden racked up more than £150bn in debt in a property bubble that economists say has burst as demand from buyers dries up.

The petition, filed by a lender demanding payback of approximately 1.6bn Hong Kong dollars (£161m), came weeks after the city’s high court granted a similar petition against peer Evergrande, which is more than $300bn (£237bn) in debt.

Last week, Moody’s suddenly removed credit ratings for 10 Chinese developers for “business reasons”.

Country Garden said in its disclosure to the Hong Kong Exchange that it will “oppose the petition vigorously”.

It said: “The company intends to continue to proactively communicate and work with its offshore creditors on its restructuring plan, with the objective of announcing terms to the market as soon as practicable.”

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What happened overnight 

Asian markets were mostly lower on Wednesday after US stocks held near their record levels in a quiet day of trading.

Tokyo stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index closing down 0.1pc, or 31.49 points, to end at 39,208.03, while the broader Topix index lost 0.1pc, or 3.51 points, to 2,674.95.

Chinese markets fluctuated, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rising 0.2pc to 16,825.00, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.7pc to 2,995.40.

China’s largest private property developer, Country Garden, said that it is facing a liquidation petition after failing to repay a term loan facility worth 1.6bn Hong Kong dollars (£161m). The first hearing in the case is scheduled for May 17.

The move comes after China Evergrande, the world’s most heavily indebted real estate developer, was ordered to undergo liquidation following a failed effort to restructure $300bn in late January.

Hong Kong was due to release its fiscal budget, which is expected to include measures to revitalise the distressed property market.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 7,663.50 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the country’s inflation rate held at a two-year low in January, triggering hopes that the Reserve Bank may cut its benchmark interest rate.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.8pc to 2,646.55, while Thailand’s SET was down 0.5pc

In Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2pc, to 5,078.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies fell 0.2pc, to 38,972.41. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.4pc, to 16,035.30.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury edged up to 4.31pc from 4.27pc late on Monday.

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