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China debt crunch

Chinese banks brace for losses as Evergrande reckoning looms

Government could move to protect homebuyers ahead of lenders

HONG KONG -- With $305 billion owed to banks, bondholders, trust companies, homebuyers, suppliers and contractors -- plus an unknown amount in off-balance sheet liabilities largely owed to retail investors -- who will collect first if China's Evergrande defaults?

This is the question in Beijing and the financial corridors of Hong Kong as the world's most indebted property developer teeters on the brink of collapse. When it comes to Chinese banks, the consensus is that they will have to take big losses -- though how big remains uncertain.

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