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China to keep investing in ASEAN: Standard Chartered

2014-10-17 11:07 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

China's outbound investment in Southeast Asian countries will maintain the upward trajectory after expanding 40 times in the past decade to US$4 billion last year, Standard Chartered Bank said.

Chinese enterprises will see opportunities in sectors including cement, steal, infrastructure, manufacturing and consumer goods, Li Wei, economist at Standard Chartered Bank for China, said in Shanghai.

Bilateral trade between China and Southeast Asian countries increased four times in the past decade. Meanwhile China has been the top trading partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for four straight years.

Sino-ASEAN trade has increased dramatically since the establishment of the free trade area between China and ASEAN in 2010. Total trade is expected to reach US$500 billion next year and US$1 trillion in 2020, according to Standard Chartered.

Given the buoyant growth of trade and investment, the region represents an important pathway toward the internationalization of the Chinese yuan. However, only a tiny proportion of Sino-ASEAN trade is settled in yuan at the moment.

"Less than 1 percent of trade between Thailand and China is done in yuan," said Lyn Kok, president and chief executive officer of Thailand and Greater Mekong at Standard Chartered. "The main reason is because buyers in China do not bill us in yuan and there's no real commercial benefit of using the yuan in trade at the moment."

She also said that the use of yuan for investment is more popular among ASEAN companies.

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