Foreign direct investment

Global FDI dropped by 23% in 2017
Developing economies receive almost twice as much FDI than they initiate
Asia and Oceania attract more FDI than any other developing region
America and Europe each account for 29% of world FDI outflows
Foreign direct investment inflows, 2017 (Percentage of gross domestic product)
Economies

    Trends and global patterns of inflows

    In 2017, world foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows decreased by 23 per cent to US$1.43 trillion. Thus, having reached a peak of US$1.92 trillion in 2015, investment fell back to 2013 levels.

    In North America and most parts of Europe, inflows of FDI amounted to less than 2 per cent of GDP. For most other parts of the world inflows were higher. However, negative FDI inflows, indicating reverse investment or disinvestment, were recorded in certain economies currently experiencing political instability, such as Venezuela and Yemen. Negative FDI inflows were also recorded in some richer economies, such as Norway and Denmark.

    Figure 1 World foreign direct investment inflows (Billions of United States dollars)

    Note: Excluding financial centres in the Caribbean (see the note to table 1 below).

    Inflows and outflows by group of economies

    In developing economies, FDI inflows amounted to US$671 billion, almost double the value of FDI outflows (US$381 billion). Developing economies in Asia and Oceania accounted for more than two thirds of all developing economy inflows and more than 90 per cent of their outflows. Developed economies, by contrast, generate more FDI than they receive. In 2017, they recorded inflows of US$712 billion and outflows of US$1 trillion.

    Figure 2 Foreign direct investment inflows and outflows, 2017 (Billions of United States dollars)

    Note: Excluding financial centres in the Caribbean (see the note to table 1 below).

    Origins and destinations of foreign direct investment

    In 2017, developed economies’ share of global outward FDI remained unchanged at 71 per cent. Over the last two years, developed economies in America accounted for an increasing proportion. Their share rose from 20 per cent in 2015 to 29 per cent in 2017, thus reaching the same share as Europe.

    On the recipient side, Asia and Oceania strengthened their position as the main host region of FDI in the developing world, accounting for one third of world FDI. The share of American developing economies increased from 7 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent in 2017, while the share of Africa remained at 3 per cent. 1

    1
    For further analyses on that topic, see UNCTAD (2018b).
    Figure 3Selected foreign direct investment flows (Percentage of world total)

    Note: Excluding financial centres in the Caribbean (see the note to table 1 below).

    Summary tables

    Table 1

    Foreign direct investment flows by group of economies

    Group of economies

    Inflows

    Outflows

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    World

    1 575

    1 430

    2.1

    1.8

    1 370

    1 430

    1.8

    1.8

    Developing economies

    652

    671

    2.4

    2.1

    363

    381

    1.4

    1.2

    Developing economies: Africa

    52

    42

    2.2

    1.9

    12

    12

    0.6

    0.6

    Developing economies: America

    190

    151

    3.2

    2.6

    42

    17

    0.7

    0.3

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    409

    478

    2.2

    2.0

    308

    351

    1.7

    1.5

    Transition economies

    65

    47

    2.2

    2.2

    33

    40

    1.2

    2.0

    Developed economies

    858

    712

    1.9

    1.5

    974

    1 009

    2.2

    2.2

    Selected groups

    Developing economies excluding China

    530

    534

    2.9

    2.7

    275

    256

    1.5

    1.4

    Developing economies excluding LDCs

    629

    645

    2.4

    2.1

    358

    378

    1.4

    1.3

    LDCs

    22

    26

    2.7

    2.4

    5

    3

    0.9

    0.4

    LLDCs

    34

    23

    4.7

    3.2

    2

    3

    0.4

    0.7

    SIDS (UNCTAD)

    0

    3

    0.5

    3.7

    0

    0

    0.6

    0.3

    HIPCs (IMF)

    29

    25

    5.9

    4.1

    2

    1

    0.5

    0.3

    BRICS

    256

    266

    1.7

    1.4

    122

    178

    0.8

    1.0

    G20

    1 143

    1 020

    1.8

    1.5

    1 102

    1 247

    1.7

    1.8

    Note: Excluding financial centres in the Caribbean, namely: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Island.

    Find the data on UNCTADstat
    Table 2

    Foreign direct investment stock by group of economies

    Group of economies

    Inward stock

    Outward stock

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2012

    2017

    World

    22 877

    31 524

    31

    39

    22 786

    30 838

    31

    39

    Developing economies

    7 365

    10 353

    27

    33

    4 046

    6 898

    15

    22

    Developing economies: Africa

    658

    867

    28

    39

    177

    366

    8

    18

    Developing economies: America

    1 896

    2 194

    32

    38

    631

    813

    11

    14

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    4 811

    7 292

    26

    31

    3 238

    5 720

    17

    24

    Transition economies

    726

    840

    25

    39

    374

    442

    13

    22

    Developed economies

    14 787

    20 331

    33

    44

    18 365

    23 498

    41

    51

    Selected groups

    Developing economies excluding China

    6 532

    8 863

    35

    45

    3 514

    5 416

    19

    28

    Developing economies excluding LDCs

    7 170

    10 028

    27

    33

    4 023

    6 857

    15

    22

    LDCs

    182

    312

    23

    29

    23

    42

    4

    6

    LLDCs

    261

    370

    37

    52

    35

    48

    6

    9

    SIDS (UNCTAD)

    38

    47

    52

    64

    3

    3

    4

    4

    HIPCs (IMF)

    176

    310

    35

    51

    13

    18

    3

    4

    BRICS

    2 391

    3 243

    15

    18

    1 365

    2 649

    9

    14

    G20

    17 319

    23 586

    27

    34

    18 684

    25 311

    29

    37

    Note: Excluding financial centres in the Caribbean (see the note to table 1 above).

    Find the data on UNCTADstat
    Table 3

    Foreign direct investment inflows, top 20 host economies, 2017

    Economy
    (Ranked by inflow value)

    Inflows

    Inward stock

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    Ratio to GDP

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    United States of America

    275

    1.4

    40

    China

    136

    1.1

    12

    China, Hong Kong SAR

    104

    30.5

    576

    Brazil

    63

    3.0

    38

    Singapore

    62

    20.0

    414

    Netherlands

    58

    7.0

    118

    France

    50

    1.9

    34

    Australia

    46

    3.3

    47

    Switzerland, Liechtenstein

    41

    6.0

    155

    India

    40

    1.6

    15

    British Virgin Islandsa

    38

    3 967.8

    68 450

    Cayman Islandsa

    37

    935.9

    9 355

    Germany

    35

    0.9

    25

    Mexico

    30

    2.6

    42

    Ireland

    29

    8.7

    264

    Russian Federation

    25

    1.6

    29

    Canada

    24

    1.5

    66

    Indonesia

    23

    2.3

    24

    Spain

    19

    1.5

    49

    Israel

    19

    5.4

    37

    a
    Financial centre in the Caribbean.
    Find the data on UNCTADstat
    Table 4

    Foreign direct investment outflows, top 20 home economies, 2017

    Economy
    (Ranked by outflow value)

    Outflows

    Outward stock

    Value

    Ratio to GDP

    Ratio to GDP

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    United States of America

    342

    1.8

    40

    Japan

    160

    3.3

    31

    China

    125

    1.0

    12

    United Kingdom

    100

    3.8

    58

    China, Hong Kong SAR

    83

    24.2

    528

    Germany

    82

    2.2

    44

    Canada

    77

    4.7

    90

    British Virgin Islandsa

    71

    7 321.6

    91 000

    France

    58

    2.2

    56

    Luxembourg

    41

    66.9

    392

    Spain

    41

    3.1

    46

    Russian Federation

    36

    2.3

    25

    Korea, Republic of

    32

    2.1

    23

    Cayman Islandsa

    30

    759.3

    5 879

    Singapore

    25

    8.0

    271

    Sweden

    24

    4.5

    75

    Netherlands

    23

    2.8

    195

    Belgium

    21

    4.2

    140

    Thailand

    19

    4.3

    24

    Ireland

    19

    5.6

    269

    a
    Financial centre in the Caribbean.
    Find the data on UNCTADstat