Each year we announce the greenfield investment figures captured by our data service fDi Markets – and our report recapping the previous year’s FDI performance, called The fDi Report, has become essential reading for those involved in the foreign investment industry. We will soon be launching the 2015 version of the report.

This time last year, when we released our recap of 2013’s FDI figures, we had some modestly good news to share. There were strong signs that the FDI market was rebounding from the doldrums of the previous few years, and we recorded an 11% increase in capital expenditure on greenfield projects. After years of depressing conference attendees with all the downward-pointing graphs that we presented, it was nice to have some positive news to share.


But, unfortunately, it seems the tough times are back. The jobs of investment promoters will not be getting easier any time soon.

Our latest figures reveal that 2014 was a challenging year for FDI. Early signs of a sustained recovery in FDI came to an end and greenfield investment grew by only a tiny percentage. FDI hovers stubbornly below the pre-financial crisis peak.

There were a few bright spots: faster growing economic regions, such as Africa, experienced a growth in greenfield FDI in 2014 and – perhaps contrarily to what might be expected – Egypt attracted a raft of mega projects as the investment environment and economic prospects in this key market that straddles the Middle East and Africa improved.

Some key sectors are showing signs of life: automotive manufacturing has witnessed a substantial rise in capital investment and financial services saw a strong rebound with healthy growth in project numbers.

We are, meanwhile, bullish on the prospects for data centres investment and have included a special section in The fDi Report on this trend. The number of data centre projects has seen solid year-on-year growth over the past five years and we expect this to continue. This issue of fDi Magazine also shines a light on the thriving data centre industry in northern Europe (page 61).

But overall, the picture will remain cloudy for FDI flows into 2015 as major economies such as Brazil and Russia experience economic slowdowns, China’s breakneck growth decelerates and many eurozone economies continue to struggle. Our graphs will not resemble their pre-crisis perkiness for a while yet.

You can read about all of these trends and insights – the good news and the bad – in more detail in our fDi Report, which will be available for download on fDiIntelligence.com before the end of April.

Courtney Fingar is the editor-in-chief of fDi Magazine. Email: courtney.fingar@ft.com