10/15/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Foreign investments in China rise 18.9 per cent in September

Investments reach US$ 7.9 billion as global economic growth shows clear signs of recovery. Europe’s largest bank moves from London to Hong Kong.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Foreign investment in China rose 18.9 per cent last month to US$ 7.9 billion, Ministry of Commerce reported. In the first nine months of the year, investments totalled “only” US$ 63.8 billion, a decline of 14 per cent from a year earlier.

The number of newly approved foreign invested companies in September increased by nearly 11 per cent increase, a sign according to the Ministry that the mainland's economic recovery is attracting investment, but the figure does not include stocks and other financial assets.

For years, China has been a top destination for foreign investment but double-digit growth rates plunged in late 2007 as foreign companies felt the global downturn and cut spending. Still many continue to invest in the mainland to take advantage of its stronger economic growth compared with other countries.

Expectations that the yuan will rise are also drawing capital to Asia. “Foreign investment may remain at a relatively high level in the coming months as China’s recovery continues to lure investors,” said Lu Zhengwei, an economist at Industrial Bank Co. in Shanghai. “Anticipation that the yuan will rise may draw more funds.”

Yesterday the yuan reached its highest point in more than 13 months after a government report showed that exports fell at a slower pace in September. Traders are betting that the central bank may let the currency rise at least 2.7 per cent the next year.

China’s General Administration of Customs reported that last month exports fell 15.2 per cent from a year earlier, less that they did in August (- 23.4 per cent).

China’s imports also fell 3.5 per cent (-17 per cent in August) from a year earlier, according to the customs bureau data.

China's trade surplus stood at US$ 135.48 billion for the first nine months of 2009, falling by 26 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

Last month, the volume of Chinese trade saw better results losing 10.1 per cent over a year ago, compared to 20.6 in August, the customs bureau reported.

Data from the last two days reflect “a continued rebound in global demand,” an analyst with Bloomberg said. Export data show that demand is rising outside China and that the recovery is picking up steam in developed countries.

Given these changes, HSBC Holdings Plc (Europe’s largest bank) has decided to move Chief Executive Officer Michael Geoghegan to Hong Kong from London.

Recently, the HSBC said that China is a “huge” focus and that it will seek to gain more mergers and acquisitions advisory business originating in Hong Kong and China.

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