A total of $8.39bn was invested by Latin American countries across the continent in 2011, fDi Markets data shows. However, more than $7.52bn-worth of this investment originated from Mexico, as investors from South America remain relatively dormant.

Although the number of intra-Latin American projects contracted from 166 in 2010 to 137 in 2011, the overall value of greenfield initiatives rose by nearly $2bn. It is the second best year for intra-Latin American FDI, after $12.67bn was recorded in 2005. The 2005 figure was boosted, however, by a $12bn investment made by Petroleos de Venezuela into a refinery in Brazilian state of Pernambuco. In 2011, the largest project was established by Mexico-based telecom giant America Movil, which invested $2bn in a Chilean data network.

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While Latin America is still perceived by foreign investors primarily as a source of mineral resources, Latin American investors have instead been showing a preference for the information and communications technology and internet infrastructure sectors, which accounted for 21.2% of all projects backed by the regional businessmen in 2011.

When it comes to project numbers, Chilean investors were the most active in Latin America, launching 39 greenfield developments, overtaking Mexico and Brazil, which were responsible for 31 and 29 new ventures, respectively. However, the average project originating from Mexico, at $443m, was six times larger than the average from Brazil and 14 times that of the Chilean average.