China surpasses United States as largest recipient of FDI in 2020

25 Janvier, 2021, 10:14 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • India bucks global decline in FDI; grows 13% against world's 42% fall in 2020

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) plunged by 42 percent in 2020, a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed on Sunday, while China bucked the trend becoming the world's top recipient of investment flows. It was the lowest level since the 1990s and 30% below the investment trough that followed the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

The fall in FDI flows across developing regions was uneven, with (-) 37 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean, (-) 18 per cent in Africa and (-) 4 per cent in developing countries in Asia. FDI to transition economies declined by 77% to $13 billion. It is the amount of foreign direct investment that fell globally in 2020, from $ 1.5 trillion in 2019 to $ 859 billion in 2020. The share of developing economies in global FDI reached 72 per cent - the highest share on record.

India and Turkey are attracting record numbers of deals in IT consulting and digital sectors, including e-commerce platforms, data processing services and digital payments.

In its latest Investment Trends Monitor, the Geneva-based United Nations trade and development body said that FDI fell sharply to an estimated 859 billion US dollars last year, from 1.5 trillion USA dollars in 2019, and warned of further weakness this year, putting a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 pandemic at risk.

The organization had projected a 5-10 pc FDI slide in 2021 in last year's World Investment Report.

In the Spanish case, the director of companies and investments at UNCDAT said that this was due to the fact that Spanish companies were bought by a large number of foreign competitors.

John concluded this year that "investors will be cautious", indicating that the gradual recovery of the indicator depends on factors such as vaccination campaigns, new waves of Govt-19, state crisis recovery plans and the current weak situation.

According to the report, the decline in FDI was concentrated in developed countries, where flows plummeted by 69% to an estimated $229 billion.

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China's high-tech industries saw an increase of 11 percent in 2020, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) rose by 54 percent, mostly in information and communications technology (ICT) and pharmaceutical industries, the report said.

The biggest shocks on these indicators were felt in Africa in 2020, with a 63 per cent drop in greenfield announcements, while global project finance in the continent fell by 40 per cent.

Greenfield investment is a kind of FDI, in which the parent company creates a subsidiary in the host country and builds its operations from the ground up.

In the United States, the index fell 49% to $ 134 billion ($ 110 billion), hit by a drop in investments by key partners such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Cross-border M&A sales of U.S. assets to foreign investors fell by 41%, mostly in the primary sector.

Flows to Europe dried up completely, tumbling by two-thirds to minus 4 billion USA dollars, it noted. In the UK, FDI fell to zero, and declines were recorded in other major countries.

Looking ahead, UNCTAD warned that the global FDI trend is expected to remain weak this year.

"Greenfield project announcements in 2020, 35% lower than in 2019, do not bode well for new investment in industrial sectors in 2021", the report says. For developing countries, the prospects for 2021 are a major concern.

Although overall FDI flows in developing economies appear relatively resilient, greenfield announcements fell by 46 per cent and global project finance by 7 per cent.

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