China Ranks as World's Fifth Largest Global Investor, Asian Markets Climb

Asian Markets climbed higher Monday. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index rose 1.8% to 21,356 and in China the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.5% to 2,696. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced 2.1% to end the day at 9,301.

China has become the world's fifth largest global investor, moving up from No. 12 two years ago. According to China Daily, the country's outgoing direct investments totaled $56.5 billion last year, an increase of 1.1% from the previous year, and are expected to grow even more over the next year. "China is now the fifth largest investing nation worldwide, and the largest among the developing nations," said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce. "This is just a beginning," she added.

Amazingly, at a time when foreign investments are spiraling downward, some predict that money coming into the People's Republic will grow, with foreign direct investments in Chinese assets surging past $100 billion in the upcoming year, says Reuters. This includes foreign investment in Chinese assets like factories and mines, and indicates a general trend toward globalization.

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In Hong Kong, real estate companies surged. Bonds issued by developers showed signs of rebounding and profits are still rising. "The big companies don't have a problem with sales," a Hong Kong credit analyst with HSBC Global Asset Management told Bloomberg. "Although prices have decreased the volume is still there." Today Sun Hung Kai Property shot up 3.7%, Henderson Land rallied 3.5% and Cheung Kong soared 2.4%. Country Garden Holdings up 4.9%, China Overseas climbed 3%, China Agile Property gained 3% and China Resource Land surged 2.3%.

Belle International celebrated its official inclusion in the Hang Seng Index with a rise of 6.5%. In addition to manufacturing its own shoes under the brand names including Belle, Teenmix, Staccato and Joy & Peace, the company also distributes brands like BCBG, Merrell, Geox, Clarks and Mephisto. Other fashion focused companies also gained today with Esprit rising 2% and Li & Fung, distributor of trendy fashion items to Wal-Mart, Target and Abercrombie, advancing 1.4%.

Big gainers in Hong Kong included steelmaker Maanshan Iron & Steel, which jumped 10% and Angang Steel, which leaped 6.6%.

In China, steel producers also performed will with Baoshan Steel climbing 7.1% and Hebei Iron & Steel surging 6.9%. Coal miners gained with Shenhua advancing 3.6% and China Coal Energy rising 3.2%. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., an oil refiner, rocketed up 2.9%. Aluminum Corp. of China, affectionately referred to as Chalco, gained 2%. An improvement in U.S. jobs data could be good news for raw materials producers if demand for goods improves.

In Japan, investors reacted quickly to the improvement in the U.S. employment situation. According to Labor Department numbers, 67,000 people were added to private payrolls in July. Elpida Memory, a maker of computer memory products, leaped 9.5% and Advantest, a semiconductor testing equipment company, advanced 3%.

Among Japanese exporters, Pioneer surged 5.2%, Casio Computer shot up 4.7% and Mitsubishi rose 3.7%. Mazda advanced 3.7%, Nissan rose 2.1% and Toyota added 1.6%.

Insurance and investment companies were also among today's big winners, with T&D Holdings rallying 7.4% and Daiwa Securities rising 5.5%. Mizuho Securities rose 6.6% while Mitsubishi UFJ added 1.2%.

Fanuc, a Japanese industrial robot maker that supplies factories around the world with machines capable of doing assembly jobs faster than humanly possible, gained 3% today. Soon increased demand for products may not directly translate into more Asian factory jobs, just more automated factories.