UNCTAD’s Global Investment Trends Monitor

It is my pleasure to share with you the latest issue of UNCTAD’s Global Investment Trends Monitor with the first full-year estimates for 2019.

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) remained flat in 2019, at $1.39 trillion, a 1% decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in 2018. This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions.

FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further 6% to an estimated $643 billion. Flows to developing economies were unchanged at $695 billion. Flows to transition economies rose by two thirds to $57 billion.

Trends in selected economies:

– FDI in the United Kingdom down 6% as Brexit unfolds.

– Hong Kong, China divestments cause a 48% FDI decline in turbulent times.

– Singapore up 42% in a buoyant ASEAN region.

– Zero-growth of flows to both the United States and China.

– Brazil up 26% at the start of a privatization programme.

– German inflows triple as MNEs extend loans to foreign affiliates in a year of slow growth.

Looking ahead, UNCTAD expects FDI flows to rise marginally in 2020 on the back of further modest growth of the world economy.

For the latest issue of the Global Investment Trends Monitor and the UNCTAD Investment Policy Monitor, please click here. An in-depth analysis of FDI trends will feature in the forthcoming World Investment Report 2020, to be published in June 2020.

By James X Zhan

Director, Investment and Enterprise
Lead, World Investment Report
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development
Palais des Nations, Geneva