Chinese outbound investment jumped to US$21.4 billion in the first quarter thanks to a rush for natural resources by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), The Wall Street Journal reported. A report by A Capital, a private equity firm that invests alongside Chinese companies in foreign acquisitions, said that SOEs accounted for 98% of the value of all outbound investment deals in the first quarter, up from 53% for the same period a year before. Around 92% of deals involved natural resources, a surge from 24% in the first quarter of 2011. The dominance of SOEs in China’s outbound investment landscape “show more difficulties for private firms to seize large opportunities in an environment characterized by both volatility and strong competition for good assets,” said the report. However, private Chinese companies continue to show interest in the troubled European market, which was the destination for 83% of all non-resource deals.