By Reuters Staff

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The number of Chinese companies consistently overdue on commercial paper payments jumped 26% in December from a month earlier as a liquidity crunch hitting Chinese property developers reduced their ability to service debt.

A total of 484 companies were overdue on at least three commercial paper payments in the period from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 last year, according to the Shanghai Commercial Paper Exchange.


The December total was 100 more companies than in November and included 95 in the real estate sector.

Four of the names are project companies of developer Shimao Group Holdings, which is discussing payment arrangements with creditors after announcing a default on a trust loan last week.

Chinas commerical paper market came under renewed scrutiny in 2021 with regulators demanding greater disclosure as part of efforts to rein in ballooning debt in the property sector.

Commercial paper, which is not counted as interest-bearing debt, is commonly used in the property sector as a payable that promises suppliers future payment on a fixed date, usually within one year, but it increasingly became a source of funding for developers locked out of other financing channels.