Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chinese bank eyeing Bear Stearns, govt official says

BEIJING : China's CITIC Bank may bid for Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns, a senior Chinese government official said Tuesday.

"CITIC Bank is considering a bid for Bear Stearns," Jiang Dingzhi, vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the industry watchdog, told reporters.

It was the first time that a potential Chinese buyer was mentioned in connection with the future of the US financial giant, which was badly hit by a crisis in the US sub-prime mortgage sector.

However, an official with the CITIC bank later said he was not aware of such a plan.

"This is the first time I have ever heard about such a matter," Peng Jinhui, a CITIC bank spokesman, told AFP.

China is encouraging its financial institutions to invest abroad as part of its efforts to reduce excess liquidity in the domestic market and mitigate increasing international pressure on the rise of the Chinese currency.

In May, China Investment Corp, the country's forex investment agency, invested three billion dollars in US private equity group Blackstone even before it was officially launched in September.

- AFP /ls

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