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Pension funds get nod to invest abroad
Updated: 2004-04-09 14:29

China has freed its national pension fund to invest abroad, bringing a massive new player into the world's financial markets in a move the government hopes will pay for social programs and retirement for its population of 1.3 billion.

The National Social Security Fund Council announced the approval Friday, but didn't say when the investments would begin or how large they might be.

The demand for retirement funds in China is expected to be especially acute in coming decades. China's "family planning" policies allowing most couples to have one child is expected to yield a high retiree-to-worker ratio.

The fund's assets total 132.5 billion yuan (US$16 billion), according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Separate plans are believed to call for the fund to begin investing in Hong Kong, whose financial markets operate separately from those in the mainland.

Proposals for ``overseas investments'' were approved by China's State Council on Feb. 9, the fund council's statement said.

The fund plans to raise the proportion of its assets invested in China's stock markets to 25 percent this year, up from 5.1 percent last year.

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