MELBOURNE, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Chinese investment to Australia roughly halved in 2019 on a shift toward investment in emerging markets and negative perceptions in China of doing business with Australia, a report said on Sunday.
Investment dropped some 47% to A$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) from A$4.8 billion in 2018, the third straight decline from a 2016 peak of A$15.8 billion, according to the Australian National University’s Chinese Investment in Australia database.
“The 2019 decline in investment coincides with lower flows of Chinese investment abroad, but the fall in flows to Australia was sharper,” the report says.
Chinese investment fell sharply in mining, real estate and commercial property, manufacturing and agriculture, while there were modest gains in construction, education and finance, the report found.
The ANU report is broadly in line with estimates by KPMG and the University of Sydney, which showed investment in Australia fell by more than half in 2019 was set for further declines this year due to the pandemic and heightened Australian scrutiny of Chinese investment.
Australia’s relations with China, its main trading partner, have worsened steadily this year.
Beijing vowed trade reprisals after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the source of the COVID-19. Then last week, Australian authorities raised the homes of Chinese journalists, while Australia flew two journalists out of China after they were questioned by the state security ministry. ($1 = 1.3731 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)