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China property shares surge on opening up of equity financing option

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of Chinese property companies soared on Tuesday after the country’s securities regulator lifted a ban on equity refinancing for listed property firms, in the latest support measure for the embattled real estate sector.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index rose 6.3%. Shares of Country Garden jumped 13.4%, while Longfor, Agile and China Vanke added 7% to 10%.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said late on Monday it would broaden equity financing channels, including private share placements for China and Hong Kong-listed Chinese developers, lifting a years-long ban.

The latest regulatory measure comes Beijing steps up support for the property sector, a pillar accounting for a quarter of the world’s second-biggest economy. Many developers have defaulted on their debt obligations and have halted construction.

Citigroup analysts wrote in a research note on Tuesday the lifting of the ban on equity refinancing was “another significant positive support” for sector’s liquidity and facilitates the introduction of new strategic investors.

Beijing suspended refinancing by listed property firms in August 2009 as part of its attempts to control surging home prices.

Regulators briefly lifted the suspension by granting approval to refinancing requests by a selection of property firms starting from 2013, but imposed back restrictions in 2016 to curb housing prices.

(Reporting by Xie Yu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Gerry Doyle)