China plans $44b fund for distressed real estate
China will launch a real estate fund to help property developers resolve a crippling debt crisis, aiming for a warchest of up to 300 billion yuan ($44 billion) in a bid to restore confidence in the industry, according to a state bank official with direct knowledge of the matter.
The move would mark the first major step by the state to rescue the beleaguered property sector since the debt troubles became public last year.
The size of the fund would initially be set at 80 billion yuan through support from the central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the person, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters.
He said state-owned China Construction Bank, will contribute 50 billion yuan into the 80 billion yuan fund, but the money will come from PBOC's relending facility.
The move would mark the first major step to rescue the beleaguered property sector since the debt troubles became public last year
If the model works, other banks will follow suit with a target to raise up to 200 to 300 billion yuan, he added.
A key pillar of the world's second-largest economy, China's property sector has been lurching from one crisis to another, and has been a major drag on growth over the past year. A revolt by homebuyers this month heaped more headache for authorities.
Some analysts said a fund would only provide part of the solution.
"We don't know details of the fund yet. If just 80 billion it's not enough to solve the problem," said Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie. "I believe the fund would be part of the bigger package to solve the current debt and mortgage crisis, because it alone would not solve all the problems ... we need a real estate recovery."
Reuters has reached out for comment from China Construction Bank, the PBOC and China's cabinet, the State Council.
Global investors are fixated on any twists and turns in China's property market, which along with related sectors such as construction, accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).