BEIJING (Reuters) - China is looking into possible risks to its foreign exchange reserves as outbound investment has eclipsed foreign investment inflows, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.
Rapid rises in outbound direct investment (ODI) have fanned concerns over increased pressure on China's foreign exchange reserves and external payments, Shen Danyang told a scheduled briefing.
"We are studying whether this will create certain short-term risks, and considering whether we should take some targeted regulatory measures to control risks," he said.
China's non-financial ODI jumped 61.9 percent in January-May from the same period a year earlier, to 479.26 billion yuan, or $73.52 billion, the ministry said, confirming an earlier state media report.
By comparison, FDI inflows rose 3.8 percent in January-May year-on-year to 343.55 billion yuan, or $54.19 billion.
The ministry started releasing yuan-denominated FDI and ODI data in early 2015, along with equivalent dollar figures based on its own conversion.
Non-financial ODI grew an annual 14.7 percent in 2015 to $118.02 billion, while FDI rose 6.4 percent last year to $126.3 billion, earlier data showed.
The government has been encouraging local firms to invest overseas under Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" program.
Heavy capital outflows seen since last year seem to have subsided as the yuan steadied due to tighter capital controls and official currency interventions, though the more recent weakening of the yuan has put outflows back on the radar.
China's foreign exchange reserves fell by $27.9 billion in May to $3.19 trillion, their lowest since December 2011, likely due to the effects of a stronger dollar and sporadic official intervention.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill)