Foreign direct investment worldwide 2012

September 2013.- According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2013, global FDI fell by 18% to $1,351 billion in 2012. Some regional disparities and trends are worth mentioning.

Worldwide FDI inflows by regions (2007-2012) (billions of dollars)

Source: UNCTAD


Developed economies in decline

In developed countries, FDI inflows fell drastically, by 32%, and accounted to $561 billion – half those of five years before- . FDI outflows from developed countries also witnessed a decline by 23%.

Developing countries take the lead

FDI inflows in developing economies fell in 2012 slightly by 4,5% related to record levels in 2011 and remain higher than figures for 2010 and before. 

Since the biggest fall in FDI inflows in 2012 occurred in developed countries, which now account for only 42 per cent of global flows– first time ever – developing economies absorbed more FDI than developed countries, accounting for 52 per cent of global FDI flows.

Developing economies also generated almost one third of global FDI outflows, continuing a steady upward trend. 

Transition economies saw a relatively small decline.

EU performs badly

Drops of FDI inflows in developed countries saw a significant negative trend specially in the European Union, which fell from $ 442 to $258 billion, and alone accounted two thirds of the global FDI decline.


UNCTAD forecasts that he recovery will take longer than expected, mostly because of global economic fragility and policy uncertainty. It expects FDI in 2013 to remain close to that of 2012, with an upper range of $1.45 trillion, and to reach levels of $1.6 trillion in 2014 and $1.8 trillion in 2015. However, significant risks to this growth scenario still remain.

For the first time ever developing economies absorbed more FDI than developed countries.

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