The total value of global foreign investment inflows increased to $1510bn in 2011 from $1290bn in 2010, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) report.

Unctad's Global Investment Trends report said crossborder investments into emerging markets shot to an all-time high of $755bn in 2011, which constituted nearly half of all crossborder ventures.


The foreign investments rate in Latin America and Caribbean was up 34.6%, followed by south-east Europe and central Asia, which was up 30.6%. The report also noted that the FDI inflow in south-east Asia, a region that has traditionally attracted a big chunk of FDI, is considerably slower, with an increase of FDI at 11%. West Asia fared even worse, as it experienced an FDI inflow decline of 13%.

The number of foreign enterprises entering developed countries was also on the up. However, most of the 18% increase of FDI projects in western Europe and North America was due to a bigger number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and restructuring, not greenfield investments, which could speed up a post-crisis recovery. The report highlighted that despite a growing number of FDI projects, greenfield investments are in decline for a third consecutive year.

Unctad described FDI prospects for 2012 as “cautiously optimistic”, as the final quarter of 2011 saw a slowdown in M&A activity, greenfield projects and equity investments. Nevertheless, the report forecasts that the value of new foreign enterprises in 2012 will grow to $1600bn. The value of FDI inflows in 2011 and projected in 2012 is higher than the pre-crisis average at $1472bn, but considerably lower than the peak result at $1969bn in 2007.