China’s top insurers reassure investors on property exposure

HONG KONG — Leading insurers in China have used recent earnings calls to reassure investors about their exposure to the nation’s deepening property crisis, with Ping An Insurance detailing reductions in its holdings in the sector.

Ping An came under particular pressure because of its investment in Country Garden, a leading developer that reported a first-half loss of 48.9 billion yuan ($6.7 billion) after missing two interest payments on U.S. dollar-denominated bonds.

On Aug. 11, subsidiary Ping An Asset Management sold 14.09 million shares of Country Garden at an average price of 0.98 Hong Kong dollars per share, bringing its stake in the developer down to 4.99%, according to disclosures on the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Market website. Country Garden shares closed at 0.89HKD on Friday.

Benjamin Deng, chief investment officer at Ping An Insurance, on Wednesday said the group has been “reducing exposures to real estate” since 2021 and described its risks as “controllable.” He declined to comment on Country Garden, citing a policy of not commenting on specific investments.

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