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Foreign direct investment in China declines again in Nov.

BEIJING -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China fell in November for a sixth straight month, the government said Tuesday, with the outlook expected to remain weak in 2013 due to global uncertainties.

Overseas companies invested US$8.29 billion in factories and other projects in China last month, down 5.4 percent from a year ago, commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a regular news conference.

The drop added to a long downward trend that began in November 2011. FDI has declined every month since then except for May, when it eked out a marginal 0.05 percent gain.

For the first 11 months of the year, FDI was down 3.6 percent year on year at US$100.02 billion, Shen said.

The government has blamed the slump on the slowdown in global economic growth, the prolonged European debt crisis, and rising costs and weak demand at home.

“In 2013, the size of China's FDI will remain stable and will not fall sharply,” Shen said. “But the general environment will remain severe due to external uncertainties.”

China, the world's second-largest economy, was once a magnet for foreign investment, but the weak global economy as well as the Asian giant's own woes have curbed enthusiasm.

The Chinese economy has slowed for seven consecutive quarters, expanding 7.4 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30, its worst performance since the first quarter of 2009.

Economic indicators for the current fourth quarter including manufacturing activity, industrial production and retail sales have shown improvement, however, leading to optimism that economic growth could be set to improve.

Investment from countries in the debt-laden European Union decreased 2.9 percent on year in the January-November period to US$5.81 billion, according to the ministry's data.

Bucking the downward trend, however, was investment from the United States, which increased 6.3 percent to US$2.91 billion in the same period.

In contrast, China's investment abroad has surged sharply this year after slowing in 2011 owing to a weak global economic recovery and financial turmoil in Europe and the United States.

Outbound direct investment in non-financial sectors in the first 11 months of 2012 totaled US$62.5 billion, up 25 percent from the same period last year, Shen said.

In 2011, the figure stood at US$60.1 billion, up just 1.8 percent year on year, previous official data showed.

China has set goals to increase overseas direct investment at an average annual rate of 17 percent through 2015 to US$150 billion by then.

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A worker carries furniture into an under-construction fashion boutique selling various luxury branded handbags at a shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, Dec. 18. Foreign direct investment in China fell in November for a sixth-straight month, the government said Tuesday with the outlook expected to remain weak in 2013 due to global uncertainties. (AP)

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