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China's $1.4tn distressed debt pool draws global buyers

Bain and Goldman Sachs among the most active players in deeply discounted deals

A view of Shanghai's financial district. Foreign investors are hunting for discounts in China's rising volume of distressed debt.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- International investors are making big purchases in China's $1.4 trillion pool of distressed loans as they pile up at faster than state-owned banks can clear them away.

Foreign buying of Chinese distressed loans totaled 22 billion yuan ($3.27 billion) by book value in 2018, said Li Jiaqi, an executive director at Shenzhen Qianhai Financial Assets Exchange, a brokerage for bad debts. That is double the value in 2017, and 2019 is expected to be even larger.

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