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UPDATED: December 4, 2008
China Investment Corp Halts Massive Overseas Investment
The investment by the CIC will be diversified geologically and lay more attention to developing countries

China Investment Corp. (CIC), the nation's state-owned forex investment firm, won't seek a great amount of investment overseas amid financial crisis given the uncertainty brought by government policies in the United States and Europe, the CIC Chairman Lou Jiwei said Wednesday.

Lou made the remarks when joining a panel discussion on the unfolding global financial crisis at a plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative Asia Meeting held Wednesday.

Lou said the investment by the CIC will be diversified geologically and lay more attention to developing countries.

He said the CIC will not invest in foreign financial institutions amid so much turbulence and uncertainty without proper market confidence because foreign governments seem to be changing their policies every week.

"Right now, we do not have the courage to invest in financial institutions," Lou said, citing the losses of its early investment Morgan Stanley and Blackstone Group. "We have to wait for the time when there won't be massive collapses of financial institutions," he added.

The CIC, with a registered capital of $200 billion, was set up by China to make profitable use of the country's foreign reserves, which totaled $1.9 trillion by the end of September.

The value of the CIC's stakes in Morgan Stanley and Blackstone, however, have plunged sharply amid the global market meltdown this year.

Lou said people should not depend on China to pull the world out of the economic crisis alone.

"China can't save the world. It can only save itself," he said.

Lou said China's economy is in relatively good shape, but is facing several major challenges with sharp declines in major markets like the United States, Europe and Japan.

He said China is also facing its own problems, trying to boost domestic consumption and become less dependent on exports, which will requires a lot of long and difficult reforms.

"They might take one to two years," he added.

Other panelists attending the forum called "Moving Forward: Coping with the Financial Crisis" included Avenue Capital Group Chairman and CEO Marc Lasry, Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd. Chairman Stephen S. Roach, Laura Tyson, Professor of Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and Zhang Shengman, President of Citi Group's Hong Kong branch .

Tyson said that governments across the world need to spend more money to stimulate the global economy and speed up recovery.

"Any country that can afford a 3-4 percent of its GDP economic stimulus should do that," Tyson said, stressing the importance of quick government spending for infrastructure construction, job creation and mortgage relieve.

"Germany has been disappointing in terms of being a major economic power with the capability of helping revive the world demand but not taking action," she said, adding, "I think we are in for a L-shape recovery."

Another panelist, Stephen Roach echoed Tyson's judgment

"No V-shape recovery, I agree with here," Roach said, "I don't know if it is an L or a very gentle upslope."

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2008)

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