Hong Kong (CNN Business)Investors are ditching China on an unprecedented scale as a cocktail of political and business risks, and rising interest rates elsewhere, make the world’s second biggest economy a less attractive place to keep their money.
China witnessed $17.5 billion worth of portfolio outflows last month, an all-time high, according to most recent data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF). The US-based trade association called this capital flight by overseas investors “unprecedented,” especially as there were no similar outflows from other emerging markets during this period. The outflows included $11.2 billion in bonds, while the rest were equities.
Data from the Chinese government also showed a record bond-market retreat by foreign investors in recent months. Overseas investors offloaded a net 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) of Chinese government bonds in February, the largest monthly reduction on record, according to China Central Depository and Clearing. The sell-off accelerated in March, hitting a new high of 52 billion yuan ($8.1 billion).
“China’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine was clearly the catalyst for capital to leave China,” said George Magnus, an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University and former chief economist for UBS.