December 15, 2016 / 10:14 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-China Nov outbound investments speed up as firms push abroad

* Nov non-financial ODI rises 76.5 pct y/y to $15.7 bln

* Jan-Nov non-financial ODI up 55.3 pct y/y to 1.07 trln yuan

* Rise in outbound deals comes as Beijing steps up checks of capital outflows (Adds context, analyst comment)

BEIJING, Dec 15 (Reuters) - China’s outbound investment in November rose 76.5 percent from a year earlier to $15.7 billion, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, as Chinese firms continued to invest abroad amid a slowing economy and weakening yuan.

November’s amount was higher than the $11.76 billion in outbound investments in October but lower than September, according to a Reuters calculation.

Beijing has announced a string of measures recently to tighten controls on money moving out of the country, including closer scrutiny of outbound investments, as the yuan skids and the country’s foreign exchange reserves fall to the lowest levels in nearly six years.

The renminbi fell to its weakest in 8-1/2 years on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a faster pace of rate hikes, raising concerns of more curbs from Beijing to temper the risk of destabilising capital outflows.

Regulators have stepped up checks of outbound investments, Reuters reported on Nov. 29, including vetting transfers abroad worth $5 million or more and increasing scrutiny of major outbound deals, even those with prior approval.

Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd , the country’s second-largest insurer, has seen some of its overseas investments affected by Beijing’s measures to stem capital outflows, its group chief financial officer (CFO) said on Friday.

The Chinese government has said recently it will step up scrutiny of deals, but that it supports legitimate deals and will maintain its “going out” strategy.

“The policy (to increase oversight of deals) is there, but the demand for corporates to diversify their investments is still strong. I still expect (overseas investment) to keep growing next year,” said ANZ economist David Qu in Shanghai.

From January-November, non-financial outbound direct investment rose 55.3 percent to 1.07 trillion yuan ($154.3 billion) from the same period a year earlier.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose 3.9 percent to 731.8 billion yuan in the first 11 months of this year from the same period a year earlier, the commerce ministry said.

$1 = 6.9354 Chinese yuan Reporting by Yawen Chen and Elias Glenn; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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