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Gramercy says it added Evergrande exposure as bond prices crater

Police officers and security personnel walk outside the headquarters of China Evergrande Group in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Gramercy said on Thursday it “added a small position” in China Evergrande Group bonds as prices have fallen to where there is a “compelling risk/reward.”

The emerging markets specialist investment manager said the decision was made given bond prices dropping to the 30 cents on the dollar area and Evergrande’s “substantial non-core assets … as well as the essential nature of the enterprise.”

Prices for dollar-denominated Evergrande bonds maturing from next year to 2025 have fallen to 26 or 25 cents on the dollar, Refinitiv data show.

With liabilities of $305 billion, cash-strapped real estate developer Evergrande has sparked concerns its woes could spread through China’s financial system and reverberate around the world.

Gramercy did not detail the nature of its current Evergrande exposure or whether it added on- or off-shore bonds to its holdings. It said there is potential for growth in China to disappoint relative to market consensus, but does not expect a “material activity shock.”

The bond position announcement was included in Gramercy’s strategy outlook for the fourth quarter and comes days after BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said it was slowly getting back into Chinese equity markets following sharp declines and on bets that Beijing will soon start providing stimulus again.

As part of its fourth quarter outlook, Gramercy said it still favors emerging market corporate debt over sovereigns, high yield over investment grade and hard currency over local currency.

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