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FDI drops again amid slowdown

(China Daily)

08:26, February 21, 2013

But signs of an upturn encouraging, commerce official reassures investors

Foreign direct investment dropped again in January as a result of the global slowdown as well as lingering concerns over China's economic recovery.

The country registered $9.27 billion in FDI in January, a drop of 7.3 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said.

This is on the heels of a drop of 4.5 percent in December.

Fourteen of the past 15 months have seen a decline in FDI. May was the exception.

But ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said on Wednesday that January's figure does not tell the full story.

China remains an attractive destination, and the driving force for China to use more FDI remains in place, he said.

Global cross-border FDI dropped 18 percent year-on-year in 2012 while in Asia it declined 9.5 percent. The decline in China on the global scale was 3.7 percent, Shen said, citing a report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Song Hong, an economist with the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said global uncertainty and weak investment sentiment were to blame.

The world's second-largest economy expanded 7.9 percent in the last quarter of 2012, halting a seven-quarter slowdown. The full-year expansion of 7.8 percent last year was the lowest in more than 10 years.

"The FDI decline in January shows that global investors have different views on whether China's economic recovery will be steady and sustainable. Meanwhile, they are also weighing whether further investment in China will bring the same rewards as in the past," said Lian Ping, chief economist with Bank of Communications.

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