“‘I firmly believe that Evergrande’s spirit of never admitting defeat and becoming stronger with frustration is the source of our strength to overcome all difficulties!’”
That was the chairman of troubled property group China Evergrande 3333, -0.44%, Xu Jiayin, channeling his inner Winston Churchill in what appeared to be a rally-the-troops letter to employees that leaked online Tuesday.
The billionaire wished his colleagues a happy mid-autumn festival, thanking them for their hard work, especially those “still fighting on the front line of resuming work and production.”
The letter was posted in its entirety by several Chinese media sites.
Xu wrote that “through the joint efforts and hard work of leaders at all levels and all employees, Evergrande will surely walk out of the darkest moment as soon as possible,” and speed up its goal to resume production and complete construction of its buildings.
But the reception to those words was not exactly on par with what Churchill got with his wartime speeches.
“Dead Duck’s Mouth,” responded Weibo user “White clothes salty rice,” referring to a common Chinese proverb about someone being stubborn as a mule. User Xiao Xu said the “slogan is good, but the fastest runners are Xu Jiayin and Evergrande executive[s].” User “the lost Astronaut” simply said: “It seems really difficult.”
The company did not immediately respond to a query as to the authenticity of the letter.
Shares of Evergrande fell another 0.4% in Hong Kong on Tuesday, on the heels of a 10% drop that fueled a global stock-market rout Monday, with the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 SPX, -0.08% suffering its worst session since May. Evergrande’s stock is down 84% to date in 2021, with losses picking up in recent weeks on fears that the Shenzhen-headquartered property giant will default on interest payments due in the coming days as it sits on $300 billion in debt.
Read: Will Evergrande be China’s ‘Lehman moment’? Wall Street says no
And: Evergrande’s potential debt blowup is ‘not a contagion’ event for the stock market, says the man who said the firm was insolvent 10 years ago
While U.S. and European stocks SXXP, +1.00% were rebounding from Monday’s losses, investors were braced for the reopening of China markets on Wednesday after a two-day holiday. The company may get a reprieve if the People’s Bank of China acts to cool any potential market panic.
Evergrande has so far missed payments to two of its bank creditors, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Opinion: Evergrande crisis and the U.S. debt-ceiling showdown could give stock investors a buying opportunity
The predictions of impending doom from Wall Street’s talking heads continued this past week. The reasons for a pullback are many, but the 50-day moving average may outweigh all of them.
Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.
Frances Yue covers the cryptocurrency market as a Reporter for MarketWatch.