The bad news for those looking for growth in the Far East is that Foreign Direct Investment into China has been on the decline for the past six months on a year-over-year basis. The good news is that the latest reading was the highest since October, when the slump began.
When you consider the YOY decline was less than 10% for March (compared to over 30% in January and 15% in February), then we may soon see a bottoming of that decline. While it is unlikely the levels of FDI will return to pre-credit crisis levels, positive growth rates in FDI into China will provide a boon to investors.
The government's initial $500 billion stimulus package, the consumer-focused programs in the works and the massive borrowing that took place in the most recent quarter, all combined with improving FDI inflows are a ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy global economy. While investors must temper expectations for foreign investment into China based on pressure from constituents of slumping Western economies that would like to see investment capital deployed domestically, the growth prospects for Chinese infrastructure firms are beginning to look more and more attractive.
The China 25 ETF (NYSE: FXI) may be worth a look for investors wanting to get broad exposure to the Chinese economy. However, focusing on those individual companies responsible for engineering, supplying, and constructing the major infrastructure projects which are so critical to China's development plan may be an investor's best bet. Keep your eyes peeled for Coal companies, electricity firms, and construction firms with business operations centered on the expansion into China's rural provinces.
And, of course, we specialize in such names.