China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) signed a 5 billion yuan ($739 million) debt-for-equity swap agreement with state-owned Xiamen CCRE Group on Wednesday as China moves to cut its ballooning corporate debt. The Xiamen CCRE deal is the third debt-for-equity swap announced by CCB, the country’s second largest lender, since policymakers relaunched the scheme in October. “We’re supporting China’s manufacturing industry to muddle through the current tough period,” Zhang Minghe, head of CCB’s debt-for-equity swap team, told Reuters. Corporate China sits on $18 trillion in debt, equivalent to about 169% of gross domestic product (GDP), and some economists fear it could destabilize the world’s second largest economy. CCB has been leading China’s latest round of debt-for-equity swaps, helping large, debt-laden state firms to lower their leverage and cut financing costs.
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