China Investment Corporation (CIC), the nation's sovereign wealth fund, reaped the benefits of investing cautiously during the global financial crisis after it reported a negative 2.1% return on its global portfolio for 2008, ChinaDaily reported on Friday.

Return on total capital, based on the accounting income of CIC's global portfolio, and the cash income and cash dividend declared from its domestic investment, is 6.8% for last year, CIC said in its annual report 2008. Total investment income in 2008 stood at $23.955 billion.

Performance could be considered admirable compared to that of comparable sovereign funds, university endowments and pension funds, it said.

The fund said it invested only an additional $4.8 billion into the market last year with 87.4% of its assets in cash and cash products. Equities and fixed income accounted for 3.2% and 9% of the global investment portfolio, the report said.

CIC would step up the investment pace this year as downside risks in the global economy have eased considerably, ChinaDaily said, citing CIC officials.

CIC started operations on September 29, 2007, with an initial corpus of $200 billion.

Nearly 50% of the funds have been allocated for global investments, while the balance is used for investment in domestic financial institutions by Central Huijin, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIC.

The top five portfolio holdings of Central Huijin are China Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and China Construction Bank.

Some of CIC's early international investments included minority stakes (under 10%) in US firm Morgan Stanley and the Blackstone Group