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India's house of cards: big pile of risky debt lurks below

Share of loans to cash-poor companies more than doubles in five years

Indian industry's struggles are a symptom of a credit crunch induced by rising levels of bad  debt.

NEW DELHI/TOKYO -- India's Auto Expo 2020 this month saw two notable absences, but not because of the new coronavirus. Toyota Motor and Honda Motor skipped the event amid a steep decline in auto sales in what had seemed a promising market.

The industry's struggles are a symptom of a credit crunch induced by rising levels of bad and nearly bad debt. The amount of debt at listed companies struggling to make interest payments has doubled over the past decade to more than a fifth of the total, a Nikkei analysis finds, pointing to a large mass of potential new nonperforming loans lurking just below the surface.

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