The amount of money flowing out of China has multiplied by 15 times over the past ten years, as the market for global cross border investments has soared.
According to the “The Wealth Report” — a massive investigation by luxury estate agent Knight Frank and high net-worth research firm Wealth X — the amount of money pouring out of the country surpassed $1 trillion (£720 billion) in 2015, as increasingly wealthy Chinese citizens look to invest in global assets and get their money out of China.
The rapid expansion of China’s economy in past decade — China’s GDP has grown from around $2.2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) in 2005 to more than $10 trillion (£7.1 trillion) now — has allowed people in the country to spend more and more money buying up foreign assets. In total, citizens bought $1.013 trillion (£720 billion) of assets outside China in 2015, compared to just $64 billion (£45.8 billion) in 2005.
Of all the countries surveyed by Knight Frank’s report, China has seen by far the biggest growth in money pouring into foreign investments, but other growing economies in Asia also saw big gains. Thailand was the only other country to see more than 1000% growth in outflows, up from $7 billion (£5 billion) in 2005, to $76 billion (£54.4 billion) last year.
As Knight Frank’s senior research analyst Taimur Khan puts it:
Unsurprisingly, the general trend over the past decade has been for significant growth in cross-border investment, led by massive growth in outflows from China (+1,471%) and in absolute terms, if not rate of growth, from the US. The impact of domestic economic growth and wealth creation, and in some cases more liberal credit controls, has seen rapid growth in outflows from markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea.
Outward investments from China may have grown by the largest amount, but the country still lags behind several Western economies when it comes to the total capital invested in foreign markets by citizens.
Unsurprisingly the USA is the biggest outward investor, with a massive $7.3 trillion (£5.2 trillion) flowing out of the country. Hong Kong, the UK, and Ireland also saw in excess of $1 trillion (£720 billion) of outward investments in 2015.
The Wealth Report includes a handy chart to show just how much money has moved out of countries in recent years:
Along with seeing by far the biggest rise in outflows of cash, China has also attracted huge growth in cash flowing into the country. $2.8 trillion (£2 trillion) was invested in 2015, a 500% increase from the $472 billion (£338.2 billion) which poured into China in 2005, and the second highest figure overall:
Knight Frank’s report on the amount of money flowing out of China comes just two days after a Deutsche Bank report from analysts led by Zhiwei Zhang, which showed that about $328 billion (£235 billion) left China in secret between August 2015 and January this year. That’s a huge number — about 78% of total capital outflows in the period.