BEIJING, April 23 -- China's external financial assets expanded 9 percent to reach 5.17 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of 2012, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said Monday.
On the back of slower growth in China's increased foreign exchange reserves and overseas investment, the growth rate in external financial assets marked a 6-percentage point slowdown from the previous year, according to SAFE data.
Meanwhile, China's external liabilities rose 13 percent year on year to 3.44 trillion U.S. dollars, resulting in net external financial assets of 1.74 trillion U.S. dollars last year, up 3 percent year on year.
China's external financial assets consist of foreign exchange reserves, outbound direct investment (ODI), securities investment portfolios and other investment.
About 65 percent of China's external financial assets were in the country's 3.40 trillion U.S. dollars of foreign exchange reserves, marking the lowest proportion since 2008, according to the top foreign exchange regulator.
China's outstanding 502.8 billion U.S. dollars of ODI, 240.6 billion U.S. dollars of securities portfolio and 1.04 trillion U.S. dollars of other unspecified investments made up 10 percent, 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of the country's financial assets.
The SAFE said the structure of its external financial assets was optimized in 2012, with foreign exchange reserves contributing to only 30 percent of asset growth, compared with an average of 65 percent since 2004.
In terms of China's foreign financial liabilities, foreign direct investment (FDI) in China totaled 2.16 trillion U.S. dollars, securities portfolios reached 336.4 billion U.S. dollars and other unspecified investment stood at 942.6 U.S. billion dollars.
About 64 percent of new foreign financial liabilities stemmed from new FDI inflows, indicating that foreign funds remained optimistic about the prospects of China's economy, SAFE said.
Developed economies tend to keep a greater share of their external financial assets in securities and ODI, while emerging countries like the Republic of Korea, Russia and Brazil hold more than 40 percent of their external assets in foreign exchange reserves, according to SAFE data.
The foreign exchange regulator also revised the FDI outstanding for 2011 by 102.7 billion U.S. dollars to 1.91 trillion U.S. dollars.