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August 1, 2009

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Insurers earn higher returns

CHINA'S insurance companies achieved an investment earnings rate of 3.44 percent in the first half of this year, an increase from the rate of 2.41 percent in the same period of last year.

Among the 109.9 billion yuan (US$16.1 billion) in realized investment profit, about 51 percent came from fixed-income products such as bond and deposits while 47.8 percent was contributed by investment in equities and funds, Yuan Li, a spokesman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, said yesterday.

"The structure of our investment has become more appropriate," Yuan said. "The majority of the capital is placed in the fixed-income products whose risks are more controllable. Thanks to the buoyant stock market, the profit from equity investment increased this year."

According to the CIRC, the capital used to buy bond products accounted for 31 percent of the total investment in the first six months, and bank deposits took 50.2 percent. The investment in stocks and funds accounted for 9.8 percent and 6.8 percent respectively.

China's stock market has staged a strong rebound, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumping 62.5 percent to close at 2,959.36 on June 30, up 1,138.55 points from the end of last year.

Meanwhile, China's gross domestic product grew 7.1 percent in the first half, a signal that growth in the world's third-largest economy was stabilizing.

"China's economic growth lays a foundation for the better-than-expected performance of its insurance companies," Yuan said. "But we should continue to pay attention to the uncertainties in the financial environment and take care of the growing complexity in risks."

Insurance premiums on the Chinese mainland rose 6.6 percent to 598.6 billion yuan in the first six months while the net assets of the industry gained 17.5 percent to 329.9 billion yuan from the beginning of this year.


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