China state banks pledge at least $52 billion to property developers

BEIJING – China's mega state-owned banks are offering at least 270 billion yuan (S$52 billion) in new credit to property developers as part of the nation's push to ease turmoil in the real estate market.

Bank of China and Bank of Communications disclosed their agreements in statements on Wednesday, while Postal Savings Bank of China made the announcement on Thursday. Industrial and Commercial Bank said it expects to finalise a plan this week, while Agricultural Bank of China did not disclose the amount it will provide.

China Construction Bank has also yet to announce its agreement, although it set up a 30 billion yuan fund to buy properties from developers in September.

Shares of Chinese developers rallied on Thursday as more signs of government policy support emerged for the debt-ravaged sector. A Bloomberg Intelligence stock gauge of builders climbed as much as 5 per cent, with CIFI Group Holdings and Longfor Group both surging more than 10 per cent. Property firms' dollar bonds also gained, with investment-grade Longfor as much as six US cents.

China's banks have been told to provide at least one trillion yuan in funding in the final months of 2022 to the battered property sector to avoid a broader fallout on the economy, which is also weighed down by Covid-19 lockdowns.

At a meeting with banks on Monday, the People's Bank of China said it planned to provide 200 billion yuan in interest-free re-lending loans to commercial banks until the end of March 2023 to support them in providing matching funds for stalled property projects.

Earlier this month, regulators issued a 16-point plan to financial firms for boosting the real estate market, with that range from addressing developers' liquidity crisis to loosening down-payment requirements for homebuyers.

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