China's record foreign investment quotas


China granted a record $2.8 billion in quotas to overseas investors in October, stepping up efforts to open its capital markets amid slowing fund inflows.

The country's foreign exchange regulator said it awarded a combined $1.3 billion in additional quotas to the Government of Singapore Investment Corp and Temasek Fullerton Alpha Investments, highlighting its recent push to boost investment from sovereign wealth funds.

It handed out new and additional quotas to seven other institutions including Barclays Bank Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, according to a statement published on its website on Tuesday.

In total, quotas worth $2.75 billion were granted last month to invest in China's stock and bond markets under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme, the biggest for any single month and almost matching the total given during the third quarter.

China's top securities regulator Guo Shuqing said on Sunday

Beijing will lift the QFII investment ceiling if its current, 80 billion yuan ($12.84 billion) limit is reached. As of end-October, 192 QFIIs have been awarded $33.6 billion in quotas.

Guo also said it plans to nearly triple the quota under the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) scheme, which allows overseas investors to buy Chinese securities using offshore yuan, to 200 billion yuan.

China has been actively promoting the QFII scheme in recent months, including holding investor presentations overseas, as fund inflows have slowed partly due to concerns over health of the economy.

China launched QFII in 2003 as part of efforts to attract foreign investment and reform its capital markets.

China's stock markets have underperformed much of the rest of Asia for several years running on cooling economic growth and a raft of government measures to curb the red-hot property sector.

The Shanghai Composite index has lost 7 percent so far this year after dropping more than 20 percent in 2011 and around 15 percent in 2010. By comparison, the MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks ex Japan has risen more than 12 percet so far this year.

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