The officials characterized the actions being ordered as getting ready for the possible storm, saying that local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in to handle the aftermath only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion.

They said that local governments have been tasked with preventing unrest and mitigating the ripple effect on home buyers and the broader economy, for example by limiting job lossesscenarios that have grown in likelihood as Evergrandes situation has worsened.

Evergrande faces a series of bond payments in the coming weeks, including one closely watched deadline Thursday for an interest payment on an offshore bond