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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China awarded nearly $16 billion of quotas to foreign securities investors in 2012, equivalent to the total granted during the previous six years, official data showed on Friday, as Beijing steps up the opening of its capital markets.
In December alone, eight overseas institutions, including Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) obtained fresh or additional quotas worth a total of $1.4 billion, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement on its website.
That brought last year's quotas under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme, foreigners' main gateway to China's stock and bond markets, to $15.8 billion, matching the total awarded in 2006 through 2011.
The explosive growth in QFII quotas underscore Beijing's renewed desire to usher in more foreign investors, especially long-term players such as sovereign, pension and endowment funds, to help stabilize and develop domestic stock markets.
Total quotas for QFII, launched in 2003, reached $37.44 billion at the end of last year.
Separately, SAFE said on Friday that as of the end of 2012, China had granted a combined quota of 67 billion yuan ($10.8 billion) under a similar, yuan-denominated scheme, the Renminbi Qualified Institutional Investor (RQFII) program.
RQFII, launched in late 2011, is designed to allow the Hong Kong units of Chinese fund houses and brokerages to raise off-shore yuan to invest in mainland capital markets.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by David Holmes