Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China has increased 10.
4 per cent year on year in the first two months of 2014, the government says, while the country’s outbound investment has slumped.
FDI, which excludes investment in financial sectors, totalled $US19.31 billion ($A21.32 billion) cumulatively in January and February, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Foreign investors “remained confident in investment in China”, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters, but acknowledged that “international investment remained low and there were various development problems within the country”.
He did not give specifics, but a string of data has indicated a slowdown in the world’s No.2 economy.
Separately, Chinese overseas investment in the two months fell 37.2 per cent year-on-year to $US11.54 billion, the ministry said, with investment to Hong Kong and the European Union leading the decline.
But Shen said that a high comparison base in the same period last year was behind the fall, mainly due to the close of China National Offshore Oil Corp’s $US15-billion takeover of Canada’s Nexen.
“Therefore, overseas investment in the first two months last year spiked, which … made this year’s year-on-year comparison base very high,” he said.
The January-February figure would have marked a 33.6 per cent increase if the Nexen deal was excluded from the comparative data, he added.
By far the greatest proportion of investment in China comes from a group of 10 Asian countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.
FDI from those economies rose 11.6 per cent to $US16.94 billion, the ministry said. US investors piled $US711 million into the country during the period, up 43.3 per cent.
“Investment from the 10 Asian countries and the US maintained relatively fast growth,” the ministry said.
Investment from South Korea soared 224 per cent to $US834 million, the ministry said, but did not give an explanation for the leap.
Investment from the European Union declined 13.8 per cent to $US1.05 billion.
Of China’s outbound investment, 65.4 per cent of the total, or $US7.55 billion, went to Hong Kong, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the EU, Australia, the US, Russia and Japan.
But the amount being invested in Hong Kong, the EU and ASEAN declined 62.9 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.
The Hong Kong decline was also related to the Nexen deal as part of the takeover funds went through the financial hub, Shen said.
Investment in the US jumped 45.6 per cent, while that to Australia gained 31 per cent. Investment to Russia and Japan “at least doubled”, the ministry said, without providing amounts or specific percentage changes.
China’s total outstanding overseas investment as of the end of last month stood at US$537.2 billion, the ministry said.
Foreign investment into China rebounded in 2013 to $US117.59 billion as confidence in the country’s growth potential picked up.
It had declined the year before. Investment by China overseas also rose last year, hitting $US90.17 billion, and officials said it could overtake FDI this year.