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Chinese investments in Aussie property dive 81% on capital controls

Hong Kong

CHINESE investment in Australia's commercial property has plummeted to the lowest level in six years as mainland capital controls bite.

Direct investment fell 81 per cent to A$250 million (S$253 million) in the first half from a year earlier, property brokerage CBRE Group Inc said in a report on Monday.

"If these restrictions continue, we expect Chinese investment into Australia to record its lowest year since 2012," said Ben Martin-Henry, associate director of capital markets and forecasting.

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The capital controls are having a "meaningful impact" globally, he said.

A crackdown by China's government has reined in dealmakers such as Dalian Wanda Group Co, Anbang Insurance Group Co, Fosun International Ltd and HNA Group Co that once had an insatiable appetite for global assets.

The unwinding of their spending spree included HNA selling a Sydney office tower in January.

Chinese spending on commercial property in Australia is down from a A$2 billion high in 2015, when capital from Asia's biggest economy accounted for 43 per cent of all foreign investments, according to CBRE.

The biggest foreign buyers of Australian commercial property in the first half were the US (A$994 million), Singapore (A$626 million) and Hong Kong (A$560 million), according to CBRE, which said the report was based on its own and external data.

Development sites weren't included in the numbers, only finished buildings. BLOOMBERG