Foreign direct investment in China rebounds by 5.3% in 2013

BEIJING (AFP) - Overseas investment into China rose 5.3 per cent last year, official data showed on Thursday, bouncing back after declining in 2012 for the first time in three years.

Foreign direct investment (FDI), which excludes financial sectors, totalled US$117.59 billion (S$150 billion) last year, the commerce ministry said.

The figure is up from the US$111.72 billion posted in 2012, when it skidded 3.7 per cent in the face of economic weakness in developed markets and a growth slowdown at home.

For December alone, FDI increased 3.3 per cent year on year to US$12.08 billion, the ministry said.

"In 2013, China's foreign direct investment steadily rebounded," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it had increased for 11 straight months from February.

The ministry said FDI in the services sector made up more than half the total for the first time, accounting for 52.3 per cent.

Services industry investment reached US$61.45 billion, a gain of 14.2 per cent, it said.

Chinese overseas investment rose 16.8 per cent to US$90.17 billion last year, the ministry said as mainland firms continue to buy foreign assets, particularly energy and resources, to power the world's number two economy.

"China's overseas investment will probably exceed FDI next year or in 2016, if not this year," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters.

FDI from the European Union jumped 18.1 per cent to US$7.2 billion in 2013, while that from the United States rose 7.1 per cent to US$3.35 billion.

But by far the most investment into China comes from a group of 10 Asian countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. FDI from those economies rose 7.1 per cent to US$102.52 billion.

FDI from Japan, however, fell 4.3 per cent to US$7.1 billion, the figures showed, as Asia's two largest economies remain engaged in territorial disputes that have led to a frosting of relations.

Among China's outbound investment destinations, Russia soared 518.2 per cent to US$4.08 billion last year with a raft of projects under way, including in the energy sector.

Chinese investment to the United States also surged, 125 per cent to US$4.23 billion.

In September, shareholders of US pork giant Smithfield Foods agreed a takeover by China's Shuanghui International, the biggest ever Chinese acquisition of a US company.

Investment to the European Union, however, fell 13.6 per cent owing to trade disputes between Beijing and Brussels, including over Chinese solar panels and European wine.

Investment to Japan fell a sharp 23.5 per cent, while to Hong Kong it slipped six per cent, the ministry said, without providing totals.

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