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At the end of 2021 China Evergrande Group—one of China’s biggest property developers—finally defaulted on its bonds. The default didn’t spark a Lehman Moment—as widely prophesied—or any significant market upheaval, but it’s increasingly clear that Evergrande’s problems mark the start of a momentous shift in how China’s economy grows. Over the past 18 months, Beijing has induced a slowdown of the property sector with the goal of better ensuring financial sector stability and the sustainability of property sector growth. However, it has resulted in defaults, restructuring, and consolidation among China’s largest developers, and has implication for local government finance and the pace of economic growth. This talk will discuss the challenges posed by Evergrande’s decline and imminent restructuring, what Beijing is trying to achieve by reining in the property sector, and what risks are involved.
Dinny McMahon is the author of “China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle,” a ground up look at the mechanics of China’s political economy, which he wrote while a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. He later moved to MacroPolo, the Paulson Institute’s think tank in Chicago, where he researched China’s efforts to clean up its financial system. Dinny started his career as a financial journalist in China, spending six years in Beijing with The Wall Street Journal, and four years with Dow Jones Newswires in Shanghai, where he also contributed to the Far Eastern Economic Review. Dinny is currently working on a project for the Wilson Center on China’s efforts to reduce its reliance on the US dollar. He also provides independent research on China’s financial system for financial services firms.