In comments highlighting the October investment trends and policy monitors, Mr Zhan expressed concern over statistics showing decreasing levels of FDI and a growing threat of protectionism.

He said: “Early estimates for 2010 based on FDI flows for the first and second quarters… now present a picture of stagnant FDI activity for the year. That would imply that 2010 flows will still be 25% less than the average pre-crisis levels, and 40% less than those of the peak year of 2007.”

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Mr Zhan’s remarks are an about-face for UNCTAD, which as recently as August said there was a modest global FDI recovery taking place.