Flows of crossborder investments will slow between 2012 and 2014, the annual World Investment Report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) forecasts. According to the report, FDI flows of $1500bn in 2011 exceeded pre-crisis levels, however, in the next two years the level of capital invested in overseas projects will grow at a much slower pace. In 2012, Unctad predicts that the overall sum invested in FDI projects will be $1600bn, while in 2013 and 2014 this figure will grow to $1800bn and $1900bn, respectively.

Although investment inflows to developing economies rose by 11% – totalling $684bn – to reach a record high in 2011, the possibility of lower growth rates in emerging markets is one of the major reasons behind the FDI slowdown. Economic uncertainty, especially in developed countries, is seen as another reason behind the expected deceleration of growth in crossborder ventures.

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Between 2009 and 2011, global FDI inflows to developed countries were down by $314bn compared with the period between 2005 and 2007. Nevertheless, according to the report, investments out of these countries increased by 25% in 2011, reaching $1240bn. However, Unctad found that the 100 largest transnational companies (TNCs) cut their investment budgets in 2011. The report estimates that TNCs may be holding back $500bn in investable cash.

As in last year's report, Unctad ranked China, Belgium, Singapore and Luxembourg as the most successful countries for attracting FDI. New countries to Unctad's ranking this year included Ireland and Mongolia, which were both included in the top 10, and Ghana and Peru, which were praised by the agency for the continuing improvements in their business climate.