China Jan-Aug outbound investment up 53 percent year-on-year, almost triples to U.S.

September 14, 2016 6:39 AM EDT

A bank clerk counts U.S. dollar banknotes on bundles of 100 Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of a bank in Huaibei, Anhui province April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's non-financial outbound direct investment rose 53.3 percent in the January-August period from a year earlier to $118.06 billion, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.

Outbound investment for August rose 13.4 percent, to $15.31 billion, the ministry said in a statement.

China's ODI in the United States nearly tripled in the first eight months from a year earlier, the ministry said.

It said the jump was driven the completion of Haier Group's acquisition of General Electric Co's (NYSE: GE) appliance business, with the actual transaction value at $5.58 billion.

The Chinese government has been encouraging local firms to invest overseas under Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" program.

Earlier data from the ministry showed foreign direct investment (FDI) in China rose 4.5 percent in the first eight months of 2016 from the same period a year earlier to $85.88 billion.

FDI from the United States rose 79.7 percent in the first eight months from a year earlier, while FDI from Germany climbed 79.2 percent and that from Britain jumped 96.6 percent, the data showed.

In August, FDI rose 5.7 percent on-year to 57.32 billion yuan, or $8.76 billion, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

Shen Danyang, a ministry spokesman, said in June that China was looking into possible risks to its foreign exchange reserves as outbound investment had eclipsed foreign investment inflows.

China's foreign exchange reserves fell to the lowest since 2011 in August as the central bank intervened to support the yuan currency as it weakened to near-six year lows.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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