Beijing: Facing economic slowdown after decades of high growth, China continued to face a decline in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which dropped for the fourth consecutive month in September, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.

Foreign investment declined by 6.8 percent year-on-year to USD 8.43 billion in September, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told the media here.

The figure brought the total FDI inflow for the first nine months of the year to USD 83.42 billion down 3.8 percent year-on-year, Shen said.

"Although the FDI inflow saw slight declines, there has not been any substantial declines," he said.

Investment from developed economies including the European Union, the US  and Japan saw both rises and drops, but the drops narrowed in general, Shen said.

In the first nine months, investment from the US dropped 0.63 percent year-on-year to USD 2.37 billion which was less than a 2.9 percent drop in the January-August period.

Investment from the EU dropped 6.3 percent year-on-year to USD 4.83 billion during the period while those from Japan surged 17 percent from a year earlier to USD 5.62 billion, he said.

"Based on our talks with large foreign enterprises investing in China, they still have full confidence in the country's long-term development," Shen said.

The country approved the establishment of 18,025 new foreign-funded companies in the first nine months, down 11.7 percent from a year ago, Shen said.

Overseas direct investment (ODI) made by China in non- financial sectors around the world surged 28.9 percent to USD 52.52 billion in the first nine months.

Shen attributed the strong growth in ODI to the country's drive to encourage domestic companies to invest overseas.

Also, other countries around the world are looking to attract investment as they pursue a recovery in the economy.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the economy has slowed for the seventh straight quarter, growing 7.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012.

The figure was lower than the 7.6 percent growth seen in the second quarter and the first quarter's 8.1 percent growth.

However, it was still in line with economists' predictions that third-quarter economic output would grow between 7.4 and 7.5 percent.

(Agencies)

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