fDi Intelligence has briefed the World Bank on several foreign investment trends found during 2009. Some of the key conclusions reported were that the greenfield FDI market is expected to decline by the close of 2009 by 17% in terms of project numbers, and by one-third in terms of capex and job creations. It also reported that the crossborder merger and acquisition (M&A) market is set to decline by 50% in both deals and deal value.

Another key finding that was presented is that the impact on sectors and activities varies considerably, and that this has a major impact on the FDI performance of countries. Countries that have specialised in construction and manufacturing have been the hardest hit in 2009 while countries that have focused on strategic services, R&D and environmental technology have preformed the best.

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There was decline in FDI in all regions of the world but the biggest declines were in the Middle East and central and eastern Europe. By country, the biggest decline was seen in Romania (60%) while there was one-third decline in China and Russia. The US, UK, Canada, Ireland and Hong Kong all maintained project levels in 2009, mostly because those countries specialise in sectors and activities that are resilient to the recession and also are the lowest risk locations.

fDi Intelligence’s research also found that 2005 to 2007 were boom years for M&A. The value of M&A accelerated past greenfield capex, though since 2008 the value of M&A deals fell much faster and greenfield FDI again became a key driver of global foreign investments.

Rankings of the top 25 source countries shows some changes, with Kuwait and Brazil no longer in the top 25, having been replaced by Bahrain and Thailand. FDI from the US declined by almost 40% while FDI from the United Arab Emirates and Canada fell by two-thirds.

Ginanne Brownell