According to figures from crossborder investment monitor fDi Markets, in 2008 Chile posted a 120% increase in greenfield investment project numbers on 2007. This year, the number of projects is up 1.52% on 2008.

The country’s stellar performance has been reliant upon traditional sectors, such as metals and the business services, but renewable energy projects have also brought in investment to the country.

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The metal sector has helped extend FDI growth in the country since 2003, with 57 projects in total, representing 16% of investments. In terms of activities, manufacturing records 74 projects and represents 21% of investments. The highest growth comes from business services with 142% average annual growth.

The US has been Chile’s biggest investor between 2003 and 2009: 84 projects have been launched to date. Figures also reveal that Spain and Canada are particularly active in Chile, with 55 and 33 projects, respectively. Meanwhile, average annual FDI growth from Spain has risen to 70.3%.

Despite the global recession hitting the American continent hard, Chile has increased its renewable energy activity. Spanish company Enhol has announced plans to invest $1bn for the construction of a windfarm in the north of the country; 250 wind turbines, with a capacity of two megawatts each, should be operational in three years.

Three other windfarms are also earmarked for Chile. Element Power, the US-based company, plans to spend $235m on the Arauco project; fifty 2.5-megawatt turbines are planned near Santiago by 2011 to serve the domestic market; and the French provider GDF Suez is investing $100m in a windfarm to supply Chile’s central grid from November 2009. This will be located in the Limari province.

The end of the year will see the finalisation of another big wind energy project: Canela 2. Started in 2007 with Canela 1, Canela 2 is being constructed in the Coquimbo region with 40 turbines.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicted that FDI in Latin countries was set to decline in 2009. However, it seems that Chile’s performance is bucking the downward FDI trend that other South American nations are facing.

Cecile Sourbes