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Chinese FRI rises 22.2% YoY to touch $10.36 billion

Chinese FRI rises 22.2% YoY to touch $10.36 billion

BEIJING: Foreign investment into China accelerated in November, government data showed Tuesday, despite a worsening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and concerns over business risks.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) — which excludes financial sectors — rose 22.2 per cent year-on-year, the commerce ministry said, totalling US$10.36 billion (S$13.6 billion).

The figure compares with an increase of 1.3 per cent in October to US$8.53 billion. FDI had hit a four-year-low in August of US$7.20 billion.

For the first 11 months of 2014, FDI amounted to US$106.24 billion, the ministry said, an increase of 0.7 per cent year-on-year.

“Investment from major countries and regions was generally stable,” commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said.

Chinese authorities have this year launched anti-monopoly, pricing and other inquiries into foreign firms in sectors ranging from auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to baby milk, fuelling fears Beijing is targeting them, a charge the commerce ministry repeatedly denies.

China’s appeal as an investment destination has also been declining in recent years owing to rising labour and land costs and competition from other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam.

Officials have also blamed source country factors, such as Washington’s drive to move industrial production back to the United States.

China’s economy expanded 7.3 per cent in the July-September quarter, slower than the 7.5 per cent expansion in the previous three months and the worst result since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

In the first 11 months, FDI fell 39.7 per cent from Japan to US$4.08 billion, 22.2 per cent from the US to US$2.46 billion, 9.8 per cent from the European Union (EU) to US$6.17 billion, and 23.6 per cent from the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian countries to US$5.87 billion.

British investment, meanwhile, jumped 28 per cent to US$1.25 billion, while that from South Korea increased 22.9 per cent to US$3.59 billion.

Investment by Chinese companies overseas, meanwhile, fell in November for the second consecutive month, the ministry said.

Overseas direct investment (ODI) was down 26.1 per cent year-on-year in November at US$7.92 billion and stood at US$89.8 billion for the first 11 months, up 11.9 per cent.

ODI had fallen 12.2 per cent in October to US$6.92 billion after soaring 90.5 per cent in September to US$9.79 billion.

China has been actively acquiring foreign assets, particularly energy and resources, to power its economy, with firms encouraged to “go out” and make overseas acquisitions to gain market access and international experience.

Officials have said outward investment could exceed FDI this year, though with just one month to go that looks increasingly unlikely given the current position and trends.

Over the 11-month period, Chinese investment into the US rose 27.1 per cent to US$4.64 billion, the ministry said.

Without providing total amounts, the ministry also said that investment to the EU nearly tripled, that to Japan rose 80 per cent, while to Hong Kong it increased 13.3 per cent.

It added that investment to Australia fell 29.8 per cent during the period, while to Russia it dropped 76.7 per cent and to ASEAN 3.8 per cent.