Chinese investment in Australia slumps 40 per cent

Chinese investment in Australia slumps 40 per cent

Chinese investment into Australia slumped 40 per cent last year, twice the drop worldwide, according to new figures, which highlight the impact of Beijing's crackdown on trophy acquisitions and Canberra's tougher stance on sensitive infrastructure and property.

A new public database to be released on Monday by the Australian National University, supported by Treasury and with input from the Reserve Bank of Australia, shows Chinese commercial investment peaked in 2016 at $14.9 billion, before falling to $8.9 billion last year.

"This is an unusual drop in Chinese investment into Australia," said the project's leader Peter Drysdale, who heads the Asian Bureau of Economic Research at ANU. He noted the decrease was significantly larger than the 19.3 per cent fall in China's worldwide foreign direct investment.

The sharp decline in Chinese investment comes amid Canberra's reluctance to sign up to President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy initiative, the Belt and Road infrastructure program.The government has also taken a tougher line on foreign investment in Australian infrastructure assets, setting up the Critical Infrastructure Centre within the Home Affairs Department to assess potential acquisitions.

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