* Jan-April FDI -0.1 pct y/y vs Jan-March +1 pct
* April FDI -4.3 pct y/y vs +6.7 pct in March (Adds context, comparison with outbound investment)
BEIJING, May 18 (Reuters) - Foreign direct investment into China fell 0.1 percent to 286.41 billion yuan ($41.6 billion) in the first four months of 2017 from the same period a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Foreign investment into China slowed in April, falling 4.3 percent from a year earlier to 59.91 billion yuan, compared to 6.7 percent growth in March. In the first three months of the year, foreign investment rose 1 percent.
The Chinese government has promised new measures to further open its economy to foreign investors this year, including easing limits on investment in banks and other financial institutions.
Foreign investment into China last year rose 4.1 percent but was less than outbound investment for the first time as capital outflows put pressure on the government to support the yuan.
Outbound investment has declined sharply this year in the face of strict controls on funds leaving the country, with inbound investment for the first four months of the year surpassing outbound investment by over $15 billion.
China's April non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) fell 71 percent from a year earlier to $5.82 billion, according to Reuters' calculations based on data from the Ministry of Commerce released Wednesday.
($1 = 6.8929 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Elias Glenn; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)