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Credit Suisse China JV launches largest bond fund

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management Co, the Chinese fund venture of Swiss bank Credit Suisse <CSGN.VX>, said on Friday it raised more than 14 billion yuan ($2 billion) in China's biggest bond fund ever, as investors sidestep a weak stock market.

Fixed-income products have found greater appeal after China's benchmark stock index <.SSEC> slumped 27 percent in the first half of the year, and amid signs interest rates are not likely to be raised soon as economic recovery remains fragile.

The ICBC Credit Suisse Double Profit Bond Fund, run by the fund unit of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China <601398.SS> <1398.HK>, is the first mutual fund that has raised more than 10 billion yuan this year, Beijing-based ICBC Credit Suisse said in a statement.

It is also the biggest fundraising by a Chinese bond fund, exceeding the 11.5 billion yuan raised by E Fund Management Co in 2005 and the 10.3 billion yuan raised by Schroders' <SDR.L> China venture in 2008.

Bond funds typically sell well when the stock market is weak. Net assets of China's stock-focused funds slumped more than 18 percent on average during the first half, compared with a 2 percent gain for bond funds.

British fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management Plc <ADN.L>, which has recently obtained regulatory approval to invest in Chinese securities, said on Thursday that it would focus on bond investment in China, as it sees no immediate buying opportunities in Chinese equities.

ICBC Credit Suisse, 25 percent owned by Credit Suisse, manages nearly 90 billion yuan in 11 mutual funds as of December 31, according to its website.

($1=6.77 Yuan)

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Kazunori Takada)

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