China Evergrande default fears haunt investors

Shares of Chinese property developer Evergrande plunged by as much as 7% on Tuesday.

That's after it tumbled 10% the previous day.

It has two repayment deadlines looming ahead, one this Thursday.

Investors fear the giant could default on its mountain of debt, and spark a failure throughout China's property sector and everything exposed to it: first the banks, then the broader market.

Evergrande has $305 billion in liabilities, equivalent to 2% of China's GDP.

The pressure to sell was high in Asia. The Hang Seng Index was at its lowest point in 11 months in morning trade.

Japan's Nikkei fell nearly 2%, returning from a Monday holiday.

A S&P report on Monday said there was a slim chance of Beijing bailing out the firm.

S&P Global Ratings believed Beijing would "only be compelled to step in if there is a far-reaching contagion causing major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy."

And that - "Evergrande failing alone would unlikely result in such a scenario."

Evergrande's chairman Hui Ka Yan tried to downplay its debt crunch, though.

In a letter to staff on Tuesday, coinciding with China's mid-autumn festival, he said the firm will 'walk out of its darkest moment', and deliver property projects as pledged.

Investors in Evergrande, however, remained on edge.

The Chinese government has been largely quiet about Evergrande on the public holiday.

There was no mention of the firm's troubles in major state media.

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