THE Philippines was the lone economy in Southeast Asia to avoid a contraction in foreign direct investments (FDI) a year ago, as FDI inflows to the country went up 29 percent in spite of all the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"FDI flows to the Philippines, bucking the trend, rose by 29 percent to $6.4 billion", the report read.
"By the fourth quarter, the coronavirus vaccines have been developed and that has helped with investors' confidence", BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia said at a virtual briefing. China is now the world's largest recipient of foreign companies' investments.
India and Turkey are attracting "record numbers of deals" in the digital and information technology consulting sectors.
A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49 per cent) to $134 billion, the report said.
WEAK OUTLOOKIn the report, UNCTAD said the outlook for global FDI is expected to remain weak this year.
Last year's figure was down from $1.5 trillion in 2019, more than 30% below the investment trough that followed the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the UN Conference on Trade and Development said on Sunday.
Egypt remained the top recipient of FDI in Africa, despite a significant decline in inflows (-39 percent) to about $5.5 billion.
The document added: "FDI in China, where the early phase of the pandemic caused steep drops in capital expenditure, ended the year with a small increase (+4per cent)".
China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's top destination for new foreign direct investment, according to United Nations figures released on Sunday.
Israel, which joined the United States and Europe in stricter lockdowns, nevertheless saw FDI grow, from $18 billion to $26 billion, with analysts attributing this to large-scale inflows into Israeli high-tech firms working on everything from remote work applications to military, security products and e-commerce, including a range of programmes using artificial intelligence.
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. In the United Kingdom, FDI fell to zero. Japan, which also resisted hard lockdowns introduced by many other developed countries, also saw its FDI grow, from $15 billion to $17 billion.
The data showed that the decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated 229 billion US dollars, the lowest level in 25 years.
Sharply lower greenfield project announcements, down 35% in 2020, suggest a turnaround in industrial sectors is not yet in sight, Unctad points out.
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.
The report noted that announced greenfield investment contracted more moderately at 14 percent, than in other developing regions.