China maintains steady growth in foreign inflows

Global investors pour 5.8pc more money into the mainland amid a rebound in appetite

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 10:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 12:54am

The mainland's foreign direct investment inflows rose 5.8 per cent year on year in the first 10 months of this year, extending gains since March and underlining a reviving appetite from global investors as the world's second-largest economy gained traction.

The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the mainland drew US$97 billion in foreign investment between January and October, with last month's inflow up 1.2 per cent to US$8.4 billion.

Investment from the top 10 Asian economies, including Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, grew 7.2 per cent to US$83.6 billion for the 10 months.

"We can see that foreign investment from Asian countries, the European Union and the United States all kept relatively fast growth in the first 10 months," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told a briefing.

Investment from the EU jumped 22.3 per cent and inflows from the US grew 12.4 per cent.

Foreign direct investment is an important gauge of the health of the external economy, to which the mainland's vast factory sector is oriented, but it is a small contributor to overall capital flows compared with exports, which were worth about US$2 trillion last year.

Foreign investment inflows on the mainland have maintained steady growth every year since the country joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001. They reached a record US$116 billion in 2011 before dipping to US$111.7 billion last year.

The ministry has said this year's level would be similar to last year's.

Foreign investment in the service sector rose 13.9 per cent to US$49.8 billion in the first 10 months, while inflows into manufacturing industries fell 5.3 per cent to US$38.3 billion.

The mainland's outbound direct investment from non-financial firms between January and October totalled US$69.5 billion, up 20 per cent year on year.

The ministry said about 90 per cent of the outbound investment went to commercial services, mining, wholesale and retail, manufacturing and construction. Outward investment in the real estate sector soared 95 per cent to US$1.7 billion while outflows into construction surged 426 per cent to US$5.1 billion.

Despite steady growth in investment, Shen was cautious about the export outlook, citing uncertain demand, rising wage and environmental costs, fast yuan gains and stiff competition.

But he said it was "not completely impossible" to achieve the central government's 8 per cent growth target for trade this year.