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FirstFT: Evergrande gets back to work

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Evergrande, the Chinese property developer battling high debt, said it had resumed work on a handful of projects across the Pearl River Delta in southern China as it sought to reassure anxious investors.

The announcement came after Evergrande made an $83.5m interest payment on one of its offshore bonds that it had missed in September, state media reported on Friday.

In a post on the company’s WeChat social media account yesterday, Evergrande published pictures of workers at projects in at least nine southern cities, emphasising that some had even finished construction. Some of the timestamped pictures of the projects in Guangdong province were of tradesmen painting the interiors of the apartments.

In a filing on August 31, the company said it had suspended construction at a number of its hundreds of projects, many of which were fully sold, without providing details.

The company cited delays in payments to suppliers and construction fees for the stoppages. It added that if work was not resumed, “there may be risks of impairment on the projects and impact on the group’s liquidity”.

Have feedback on the newsletter? You can reach me at emily.goldberg@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news. — Emily

Five more stories in the news

1. Poland PM accuses EU of demands with ‘gun to our head’ Mateusz Morawiecki promised to dismantle a disciplinary chamber for judges that the European Court of Justice found to be illegal by the end of the year. But he warned that if the European Commission “starts the third world war” by withholding promised cash to Warsaw, he would “defend our rights with any weapons which are at our disposal”.

2. China expands property tax trials In the next step of its “common prosperity” drive, China has expanded trials for a property tax. The decision pitches President Xi Jinping against deeply entrenched vested interests across an economy fuelled for decades by real estate development.

3. Brussels warned over delaying capital rules for EU banks The secretary-general of the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision has warned the EU not to delay the next phase of global banking rules, as draft plans show that Brussels is suggesting giving European banks a two-year extension to an internationally agreed deadline.

4. Democrats say they are close to a deal on spending bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Congress is close to a deal on Biden’s social spending legislation as the White House and Democrats fight to salvage the US president’s multibillion-dollar spending agenda.

5. US officials warn companies in critical sectors on China US intelligence officials have launched a campaign to warn American companies about the risks of interacting with China in critical industries, in a push to make it harder for Beijing to obtain technology and data.

Coronavirus digest

The day ahead

Earnings The earnings season will be in full swing over the next seven days with 200 S&P 500 companies reporting results in the US and many others doing likewise in Europe. Facebook, HSBC, Michelin and POSCO report third-quarter earnings today.

Facebook whistleblower testifies The social platform will be in the spotlight today not only because of its earnings figures, but because Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, will give evidence to a UK parliamentary committee. Among the findings from internal documents Haugen released: Facebook’s services were used to spread religious hatred in India. (FT, WSJ)

What else we’re reading and listening to

Saudi Arabia flexes its economic muscles The cosy relationship companies based in the United Arab Emirates have enjoyed with Saudi Arabia — the main market for many Gulf businesses — is being shaken up. Saudi Arabia’s “awakening” is reverberating boardrooms of local and multinational businesses based in the Gulf state.

Fumio Kishida’s links to Taiwan raise hopes of deeper ties The revelation that the family of Japan’s new prime minister has a history in Keelung — has caused a stir, highlighting Taiwan’s special relationship with its former colonial master and the ruling Democratic Progressive party’s hopes to deepen ties with Tokyo.

Indra Nooyi: ‘Companies like ours are little republics’ The former PepsiCo chief, over a $28 plate of grilled cheese and tomato soup at the Baccarat Hotel, weighed in on changing giant businesses, how to help more women succeed — and why obesity is not the food industry’s fault alone.

© Ciaran Murphy
© Ciaran Murphy

Pawternity leave is a step too far in the pandemic pet boom The idea of “PETernity leave” has taken off during the pandemic as pet ownership has boomed. But demands for time off to be with lockdown pets is jarring when millions still lack paid parental leave, writes Pilita Clark.

Listen: Hell of an Episode, with Jason Mott In this week’s edition of the FT Weekend podcast, FT’s Lilah Raptopoulos talks to Jason Mott on his novel Hell of A Book, and goes sneaker shopping with financial commentator and style columnist Robert Armstrong.

House & Home

My colleague Madison Darbyshire this summer drove nine hours to buy a bed. She’s among the many millennials that are forsaking flat-packs for second-hand furniture. Meanwhile, the cost of antiques has skyrocketed in the past few years as their popularity has grown. Nostalgia is in vogue.

© Madison Darbyshire/Megan Haley
© Madison Darbyshire/Megan Haley

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