The Ministry of Commerce, the National Bureau of Statistics and the State Administration of Foreign Exchanged jointly released China's direct outbound investment report for 2006 last week, Xinhua reported (in Chinese). The report shows China's direct investment in overseas markets in 2006 has been up to US$21.16 billion, with US$17.63 billion from non-financial sectors, an increase of 43.8% over the previous year. Mergers and acquisitions accounted for 40% (US$8.25 billion) of total outbound investment. The mining, business service and financial sectors were three of the main areas invested in. During the year US$8.45 billion was invested in oil, natural gas exploration and ferrous metal mining.