Chinese Oct FDI growth slows to 1.3%

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BEIJING: Growth in foreign investment into China slowed in October, the government said on Tuesday, amid a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and concerns over business risks.

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Foreign direct investment (FDI)—which excludes financial sectors—totalled $8.53 billion for the month, the commerce ministry said, up 1.3 percent year-on-year.

The figure compares with a gain of 1.9 percent in September, which came after a four-year-low in August of $7.20 billion.

For the first 10 months of 2014, FDI amounted to $95.88 billion, the ministry said, a decline of 1.2 percent year-on-year.

Chinese authorities have in recent months launched anti-monopoly, pricing and other inquiries into foreign firms in sectors ranging from auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to baby milk.

The probes have raised concerns among investors that Beijing is targeting overseas companies, which the commerce ministry has repeatedly denied.

But China’s appeal as an investment destination has declined in recent years in the face of rising labor and land costs and competition from other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam.

Chinese 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 percent in the July-September quarter, slower than the 7.5 percent expansion in the previous three months and the worst result since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

In the first 10 months FDI fell 42.9 percent from Japan to $3.69 billion, 23.8 percent from the US to $2.32 billion, 16.2 percent from the European Union (EU) to $5.38 billion, and 15.2 percent from the Asean group of Southeast Asian countries to $5.41 billion.

Investment from Britain and South Korea bucked the trend, rising 32.4 percent and 26.4 percent to $1.18 billion and $3.29 billion, respectively.

Investment by Chinese companies overseas, meanwhile, fell in October after a huge jump the month before.

Overseas direct investment (ODI) was down 12.2 percent year-on-year in October at $6.92 billion and stood at $81.88 billion for the first 10 months, up 17.8 percent.

ODI had soared 90.5 percent in September to $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 that outward investment could exceed FDI this year.

AFP

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