FOREIGN INVESTMENT FREEFALL EASES

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-16 07:34

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been in decline for eight months, but the size of the fall in May was smaller than the one in April, probably signaling an easing off.

Workers prepare for the opening of an international trade fair in Shanghai. [File photo]

In comparison with other economies, China is still poised to be among the first choices for global investors in the next five years, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said.

According to the figures released by the ministry Monday, in May, the FDI dropped 17.8 percent compared to a year earlier - equaling $6.38 billion. The number of newly approved foreign enterprises contracted by 32 percent to 1,649.

The figures exclude those in the financial sector.

But May's performance was better than April's, when the FDI registered a negative growth of 22.5 percent.

Between January and May, the FDI fell by 20.4 percent year-on-year to $34.05 billion and newly approved foreign enterprises dropped by 33.8 percent to 7,890.

In the same period, foreign investment in China's central and western regions fell by 35.7 - more than the national average. Newly approved foreign enterprises fell 30.2 percent. For several years prior to the financial crisis, the regions had seen higher rates than the national average.

Yao Jian, a MOFCOM's spokesman, noted the central and western regions' sharp decline: "The coastal areas have the advantage of having gathered a much larger number of foreign investment enterprises in the last three decades."

Encouraged by confidence from global investors in China's 4 trillion yuan stimulus plan, the "decline in FDI will probably be slowing during the rest of the year," predicted Li Jianfeng, macro-economics and trade analyst with Shanghai Securities, a domestic brokerage.

"There is a good chance that the FDI will register a positive growth in the last quarter, given the low reference point in 2008," he added.

During the first quarter, the FDI decline showed some signs of bottoming out. But in April, the performance went down again by 22.5 percent, compared with a decline of 9.5 percent in March.


At the same time, the International Monetary Fund predicted China's GDP would grow by 6.7 percent this year, 1.3 percentage points lower than the Chinese government's target, but higher than the 5.25 percent of India and 5 percent for Vietnam, two countries vying for FDI.

The stimulus plan is having an effect, said Yao, who pointed out that retail volume rose to 4.88 trillion yuan in the first five months, up by 15 percent year-on-year.

Yao predicted that in 2009, China's FDI will contract by an annualized 20 percent in contrast to last year's growth of 27.65 percent.

Source£ºChina Daily



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