While global FDI fell 2% in 2016, the projections in UNCTAD’s newly published 2017 World Investment Report (WIR) are cautiously optimistic.

Flows to developing regions shrunk by 14% to $646bn in 2016, while the only region to see an increase was North America. Overall FDI outflows declined as well, with China among the main exceptions. 


James Zahn, UNCTAD director of Investment and Enterprise, says there is a positive change in sentiment among corporations despite these decreases. “The 2017 UNCTAD Business Survey indicates renewed optimism about FDI prospects,” he said. “Emerging markets are likely to see a 10% increase in inflows in 2017, reflecting accelerating economic growth in all regions, including emerging markets and a rebound in world trade volume.”

“Having endured a hard downturn in the past two years, natural-resource based MNEs, especially in the oil industry, seem to have turned the corner,” he added. “Most executives now expect increased investment over the next two years, including in the emerging markets.”