Financial assets see 33% growth

By Hong Guan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-26 06:44

China managed to boost its international investment position by 57 percent to $662.1 billion at the end of 2006 year-on-year, the foreign exchange regulator said on Friday.

The international investment position records a country's foreign financial assets and liabilities outstanding at a particular time.

In addition, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said on Friday that the country's foreign financial assets totalled $1.63 trillion at the end of 2006, a year-on-year growth of 33 percent.

Its foreign financial liabilities rose to $964.5 billion, a growth rate of 21 percent, the SAFE said on its website.

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The SAFE said China's foreign financial assets included $82.4 billion in direct outward investment, $229.2 billion in portfolio investment overseas, $242 billion in other investments and $1.073 trillion in international reserves and $1.066 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of last year.

They accounted for 5, 14, 15 and 66 percent of the country's total foreign financial assets respectively, the SAFE said.

Regarding its foreign liabilities, foreign direct investments flowing into China was $544.2 billion at the end of last year, accounting for 56 percent of total foreign financial liabilities. Foreign securities investment in China amounted to $120.7 billion, or 13 percent of the total.

SOE profit growth

Also on Friday, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) released profit figures of China's 424 major State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the January-April period. It was $348.81 billion, up by 34.7 percent year-on-year and 25.8 percentage points higher than the same period last year.

The big-margin growth resulted from reduced corporate costs as energy prices have dropped since this year, the SASAC said.

The price of coal dropped by 1.3 percent at the end of April compared with early this year, the commission said. Meanwhile, the growth momentum of refined oil prices have slowed down and declined by 3 percent during the same period.

As a result, the gap between the growth rates of corporate costs and revenues has narrowed, leading to swelling profits, the commission said.

Last year, rising energy and raw material prices dragged down the profits of those enterprises. The soaring price of iron ore, for example, may have had a serious impact on the profit level of steel makers, said Gao Liang, director of the State-assets Research Center under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Li Rongrong, head of SASAC, criticized some key central State enterprises for their inability to control operational costs last year.

From January to April this year, SOEs that make big profits were mainly from such industries as oil and petrochemical, telecom, metallurgical, power, transportation, coal, tobacco, auto and foreign trade. They were combined to record a total profit of 302.6 billion yuan ($39.6 billion), accounting for 86.8 percent of the total.

(China Daily 05/26/2007 page2)

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