Markets are awaiting the next major test of Evergrande after default fears triggered a sell-off. Here’s what investors are focused on as key debt payment looms.

Evergrande Chairman
China Evergrande Group Chairman Hui Ka Yan attends a news conference on the property developer’s annual results in Hong Kong, China.

  • The Evergrande debt crisis roiled global markets on Monday as the company’s ability to pay its debts come into focus.
  • All eyes are on Evergrande’s ability to pay $83 million in interest on its bonds due this Thursday.
  • Evergrande already missed interest payments to banks that were due on Monday.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

All eyes are on Evergrande, China’s second largest property developer that is sitting on more than $300 billion in liabilities and may not be able to meet its debt obligations.

The fear of contagion spread from a potential default of Evergrande roiled markets on Monday, with the S&P 500 falling as much as 3%, and the Dow Jones down nearly 1,000 points at its worst level. US stocks rebounded by about 0.50% in initial Tuesday trades.

So what’s next for the embattled company? Interest payments, mostly.

On Thursday, $83 million in interest payments will be due on one of Evergrande’s five-year bond, which had an initial issue size of about $2 billion, according to CNBC citing data from S&P Global Ratings.

Then next Wednesday, September 29, Evergrande will have another interest payment due on a seven-year bond.

Evergrande’s inability to pay the upcoming bond payments would spell more trouble for the company, as it would mean a potential default on several of its US-dollar denominated bonds. That would be worse than the already missed interest payments to multiple banks that were due on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

As of late Tuesday local time, those payments were still outstanding. Some banks are waiting for the developer to propose a potential loan extension plan before they decide whether to declare the cash-strapped developer in default, according to the report.

Even if Evergrande is able to make its upcoming debt payments and already missed bank payments, the crisis will likely remain given that the company has $669 million of coupon payments remaining this year. And of the $88.5 billion that Evergrande borrowed from banks and other financial institutions, nearly half of that is due in less than a year, Bloomberg reported.

Speculation is now mounting that the Chinese government will provide some form of aid to the non-state owned enterprise given its immense pile of debt, uncertainties about the underlying value of its assets, and the large impact the real estate sector has on the Chinese economy.

That aid may be even more likely if Evergrande represents just the first of several property developers experiencing deteriorating financial conditions, meaning a more systemic risk to China’s real estate and financial markets is apparent.

But some believe Evergrande is not too big to fail, including Andrew Left of Citron Research, who first wrote in 2012 why the property developer was on the verge of insolvency.

“I don’t know what happened, but finally this past week, or month, he ran out of friends who are going to refinance his debt, and the debt became way too much,” Left said of Evergrande’s Chairman Hui Ka Yan. “In China, the big talk is, ‘he’s not too big to fail.”