Source AP ©

China says foreign assets grew 57 percent in 2006

Net foreign assets of China grew 57 percent last year to US$662 billion, the Government said Friday, amid pressure on Beijing to let more money flow out of the country.

China's total assets abroad rose 33 percent to US$1.6 trillion, while liabilities rose 21 percent to US$964.5 billion, the foreign exchange agency said on its Web site.

Beijing's foreign exchange reserves of US$1.1 trillion accounted for two-thirds of foreign assets, the agency said. It said other assets were US$82.4 billion in direct investment, US$229.2 billion in securities, US$242 billion in loans owed to Chinese lenders.

China is awash in cash from booming exports and foreign investment but currency controls sharply limit the amount of money that companies and individuals can invest abroad.

The government has begun easing those controls and is under pressure from the United States and other trading partners to let money flow more freely out of the country.