Shares in embattled Chinese developer Evergrande have fallen by around 80% as they started trading in Hong Kong for the first time in a year and a half.

The shares have lost more than 99% of their value in the last three years as Beijing cracked down on property firms.

Evergrande is at the centre of a real estate market crisis threatening the world’s second largest economy.

On Sunday, the firm posted a 33bn yuan ($4.5bn; £3.6bn) loss for the first six months of the year.

However, that was an improvement on the 66.4bn yuan loss it reported for the same period a year earlier.

The company’s “directors have taken a number of measures to improve the liquidity position and financial position of the group,” Evergrande said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The firm added that its revenue for the first six months of this year had jumped by 44% to 128.2bn yuan from a year earlier. However, its stockpile of cash fell by 6.3% over the same period.

Evergrande shares had been suspended from trading since March last year.

“The key for policymakers at this moment is to prevent financial contagion and limit spillover into the overall financial system,” Qian Wang, chief Asia Pacific economist at investment firm Vanguard told the BBC.

“Policymakers will need to provide further liquidity and credit support to the economy and the real estate sector,” she added.

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