World Economy

China Overseas Investment Jumps in Feb.

China Overseas Investment Jumps in Feb.China Overseas Investment Jumps in Feb.

China’s overseas direct investment (ODI) surged in February as a state-owned oil company put nearly $3 billion into a Dutch transaction, official data showed on Tuesday, while inbound investment slowed.

ODI jumped 68.2 percent year-on-year to $7.25 billion, the commerce ministry said, while for the first two months of the year it rose 51 percent to $17.4 billion, AFP reported.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China, meanwhile, rose 0.9 percent year-on-year to $8.56 billion in February, the ministry said. That marked a sharp slowdown from January’s 29.4 percent gain. Both ODI and FDI exclude financial sectors.

China drew a total of $119.6 billion of FDI in 2014, while ODI surged to $102.9 billion, passing the $100 billion mark for the first time as Chinese companies look for opportunities abroad while economic growth at home slows.

The surge in February’s ODI was driven by a tenfold increase in investment in the European Union to $3.36 billion, largely due to oil company PetroChina pumping $2.89 billion into the Netherlands, said ministry spokesman Shen Danyang.

He gave no details of the transaction, which was not highlighted on China National Petroleum Corporation’s website or in filings to the Hong Kong stock exchange by its listed subsidiary PetroChina.

Investment in the US soared by 64.8 percent in the first two months of the year from the same period in 2014, Shen said.

China has been actively acquiring foreign assets, particularly energy and resources, to power its economy, with firms encouraged to make overseas acquisitions to gain market access and international experience.

Shen said the euro’s depreciation against the dollar and China’s yuan currency may encourage more Chinese firms to buy up European assets.

“The continued slumps in the euro’s value against the dollar has led the price of eurozone assets to fall, creating an opportunity for Chinese companies to invest and carry out mergers and acquisitions there,” he told reporters.

But the government will “have to keep a close eye” on the trend as “price is just one of the considerations” when investing, he added.