Is China’s concern over a possible US dollar shortage risk forcing companies to sell overseas assets?

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  • China’s need for US dollars to repay debts, pay for imports and fund Belt and Road initiative projects may exceed its US$3.1 trillion in foreign exchange reserves
  • Anbang Insurance Group, Dalian Wanda Group and HNA Group have all been pressured to sell assets amid the trade war with the United States

This is the final article in a three-part series looking at China’s US dollar shortage risks in the trade war, as it aims to open up its markets.

Anbang Insurance Group’s plan to sell its condos at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York is the latest in the string of high-profile Chinese divestments that underscores China’s concern that the nation is running short of US dollars.

The Chinese holding company bought the Waldorf for a record US$1.95 billion in 2014, but under pressure from the Chinese government, is reported to be seeking buyers for the 375 flats at the hotel despite a glut of unsold luxury flats in Manhattan. In total, it is aiming to shed a portfolio of assets that includes 15 hotels having, like other highly leveraged Chinese conglomerates with overseas investments, been placed under scrutiny by Beijing.

Chinese real estate mogul Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group has dumped US$25 billion in assets since 2017, while troubled conglomerate HNA Group was forced to sell everything from Hong Kong land parcels, to its stakes in Deutsche Bank, Hilton Grand Vacations as well as its airlines. Chinese oil giant CEFC China Energy also wants to sell 100 properties worldwide.


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