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Shares in Chinese property developer Country Garden rose nearly 20% on Monday after creditors agreed over the weekend to restructure repayments of yuan-denominated bonds due Saturday.

The bondholder approval gives the cash-strapped company more time as it scrambles to meet domestic and international repayment obligations.

Country Garden, which has become the focus of international investors trying to gauge the state of China’s sprawling real estate sector, said in a statement to bondholders that it had the backing of 56.08 percent of Chinese creditors who voted.

Creditors agreed to extend nearly 4 billion yuan ($550 million) of bonds due to mature on Saturday and allow developers to amortize the debt over three years.

The news pushed the developer’s Hong Kong-listed shares up 19.1% on Monday. The stock is still down more than 60% so far this year.

Country Garden, once considered one of the Chinese developers least likely to default, has recently struggled to meet its repayment obligations. About a month ago, it failed to pay $22.5 million in interest on two $500 million international bonds, sparking a broad sell-off in the real estate group’s shares already under pressure from widespread defaults.

Shares in the Hong Kong-listed developer jumped 10.5% on Monday after Chinese authorities moved to lower down-payment requirements for first- and second-time homebuyers nationwide.

After years of cracking down on excessive leverage in the industry, the pace of easing mortgage rules to encourage homebuyers has accelerated markedly in recent weeks. Last week, major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen lowered minimum mortgage rates for first-time buyers.

Lu Ting, an analyst at Nomura Securities, said that while the recent policy easing marks a “major step in stimulating the real estate sector”, the measures are “still not enough” to pull it out of a long-term liquidity crisis.

Chinese developers face a payment wall of $38 billion in yuan and U.S. dollar bonds maturing in the next four months, Dealogic data showed, while Fitch Ratings warned last week that China’s annual new home sales could drop by as much as 15%.

The rating agency also warned that the situation at Country Garden “could exacerbate weakness among (Chinese) homebuyers”.

As of the end of the first half of 2023, the debt of the Country Garden family alone is about 136 million yuan, and they are facing greater repayment pressure this week. A grace period for dollar bond payments missed a month ago is due to expire on Wednesday.


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