The growing risk of default by Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. may become China’s “Bear Stearns moment,” prompting investors to reassess credit risks as they did after the U.S. securities firm was rescued in 2008, according to Bank of America Corp.
“We doubt that the financial system in China will experience a liquidity crunch immediately because of this default but we think the chain reaction will probably start,” Hong Kong-based strategists David Cui, Tracy Tian and Katherine Tai wrote in a note yesterday. During the U.S. financial crisis, it took a year “to reach the Lehman stage” when investors began to panic and shadow banking froze, the strategists added.
The maker of solar cells said March 4 it may not be able to make an 89.8 million yuan ($14.7 million) interest payment in full by the deadline tomorrow. As the subprime mortgage market began to collapse in 2007, two Bear Stearns Co. hedge funds that owned the debt sought bankruptcy protection in the beginnings of the credit crisis. The troubled bank was sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in March of 2008 in a deal facilitated by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Six months later, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
My view: Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.