BEIJING: China’s troubled property giant Evergrande has made a key offshore interest payment a day ahead of a weekend deadline, state media said Friday, averting a default for now. The crisis at one of the nation’s biggest property developers, which is drowning in $300 billion of debt, has hammered investor sentiment and fuelled fears of a spillover into the wider economy. Evergrande is reported to have missed at least $150 million in offshore bond payments but agreed a deal in September to pay interest on a domestic bond. But on Friday, the state-backed Securities Times said the embattled developer had wired an $83.5 million offshore payment first due on September 23, citing “relevant channels”. It said bondholders would receive the payout before Saturday — the end of a 30-day grace period. Fears that Evergrande could collapse and send shockwaves through the Chinese economy have rattled buyers and markets, and shares plunged as the group resumed trading Thursday after a two-week halt. But shares in the group were trading up Friday morning on the news, climbing around five percent at the open. Evergrande began to falter under Beijing’s new “three red lines” imposed on developers in a state crackdown last year, which placed restrictions on the amount of debt that real estate companies could have. In a statement this week, the Shenzhen-based group said it has made no progress on asset disposals to raise capital, after a potential $2.58 billion deal to sell a 50.1 percent stake in its property services arm fell through. Beijing has insisted any fallout can be contained, but the crisis has prompted rare public anger and protests from anxious homebuyers, suppliers and investors. Authorities have reportedly asked local governments to prepare for Evergrande’s potential collapse, while analysts have said local authorities had already taken control of some of its real estate projects. “From a macro perspective, whether or not the dying husk of Evergrande survives is simply not important; what’s important is who assumes what liabilities, or not,” Leland Miller, the CEO of data analytics company China Beige Book, told AFP. “It’s been pretty clear from the outset that much more pain is coming.”

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