Foreign investment in China falls in September

BEIJING -- Foreign investment in China fell again in September and a government spokesman said Friday it was too early to forecast a recovery in trade.

The decline in foreign direct investment added to mixed signals about the health of China's economy following Thursday's report that growth slowed to 7.4 percent in the latest quarter. Retail sales and factory output improved, prompting suggestions a recovery might be taking shape.

Foreign direct investment fell 6.8 percent from a year earlier to $8.4 billion, the Ministry of Commerce reported. FDI includes investment in factories and other assets but excludes stocks and other financial assets.

Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said it was too early to say trade growth is recovering from its slump despite a 9.9 percent rise in exports in September. Shen said global conditions were still difficult and uncertain.

"External demand still faces a lot of difficulties, so we cannot conclude from this month's data alone that China's foreign trade growth has recovered," Shen said at a news conference.