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China's FDI falls 0.3 pct in Jan.

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BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China used 9.997 billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI) in January, down 0.3 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday.

The drop was due to a drop in business activity during the Spring Festival holiday, said Shen Danyang, spokesman for the MOC, at a regular news briefing on Thursday.

FDI in the country's cropping and livestock sectors rose significantly in January while that in both the manufacturing and service sectors dropped on a yearly basis, he said.

The ministry's data showed the sectors of crop production, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries used 197 million U.S. dollars of FDI in January, up 40 percent from a year earlier.

Investment in the service industry dropped 4.6 percent to 4.47 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for nearly 45 percent of the country's total FDI in January. The manufacturing sector used nearly 4.7 billion U.S. dollars, down 0.04 percent from a year earlier and taking up 47 percent of the total.

The outlook for the nation's FDI this year is not favorable amid increasing uncertainties both at home and abroad, said Shen.

"The sluggish growth in global direct investment and increasing production and operational pressures in the country provide a dim outlook," he said.

In January, investment from the United States and Asian countries and regions increased while that from the European Union (EU) fell.

MOC data showed that FDI from 10 Asian countries and regions saw a year-on-year increase of 0.77 percent to nearly 8.6 billion U.S. dollars in January and that from the United States rose 29 percent to 342 million U.S. dollars.

Investment from 27 countries in the EU declined 42 percent to 452 million U.S. dollars.

"In the long run, China has advantages in attracting foreign investment because ... the accelerating progress of the country's industrialization and urbanization will provide more opportunities for foreign investors," said the MOC spokesman.

He noted that the central and western regions registered a faster growth of FDI compared to the eastern region although eastern China remained the largest destination for FDI, accounting for nearly 86 percent of all foreign investment in China.

In January, the nation approved the establishment of 1,402 foreign-invested companies, down 37 percent year-on-year, said Shen.

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