Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to share with you the latest issue of UNCTAD's Global 
Investment Trend Monitor.

The key message: Global Foreign Direct Investment slipped further 2017. 
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 16% in 2017, to an 
estimated US$1.52 trillion, from a revised US$1.81 trillion in 2016 – a 
stark contrast to other macroeconomic variables, such as GDP and trade 
growth, which saw substantial improvements in 2017.
A slump in FDI flows to developed countries (-27%) was the principal 
factor behind the global decline. A strong decrease in flows was reported 
in Europe (-27%) as well as in North America (-33%), mainly due to a 
return to prior levels of inflows in the United Kingdom and the United 
States after spikes in 2016. This decline was tempered by an 11% growth in 
flows to other developed economies, principally Australia.
FDI to developing economies remained stable, at an estimated US$653 
billion, 2% more than the previous year. Flows rose marginally in 
developing Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, and remained flat in 
Africa. Developing Asia regained its position as the largest FDI recipient 
region in the world, followed by the European Union and North America.
FDI to the transition economies declined by 17% to an estimated US$55 
billion, mainly due to a drop in the Russian Federation and lacklustre 
inflows across most of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). 
After three years of growth, cross-border merger and acquisitions (M&As) 
declined in 2017. Their growth already slowed in 2016; in 2017, they 
contracted by 23%, to US$666 billion. However, this still represented the 
third highest level since 2007. 
Preliminary data on the value of announced greenfield FDI projects show a 
decline of 32% to US$571 billion (-17% in number of projects), their 
lowest level since 2003. If confirmed, the drop in greenfield project 
announcements would be a negative indicator for the longer term. Of 
particular concern is the near halving of the value of project 
announcements in developing economies, although the fall in project 
numbers was limited to 23%.
Higher economic growth projections, trade volumes and commodity prices 
would normally point to a potential increase in global FDI in 2018. 
However, elevated geopolitical risks and policy uncertainty could have an 
impact on the scale and contours of any FDI recovery in 2018. In addition, 
tax reforms in the United States are likely to significantly affect 
investment decisions by United States MNEs, with consequences for global 
investment patterns.
For the latest issue of the Global Investment Trends Monitor and the 
UNCTAD Investment Policy Monitor, please click here. An in-depth analysis 
of FDI trends will feature in the forthcoming World Investment Report 
2018, to be published in June 2018.

Best regards,
James Zhan 
Director, Investment and Enterprise
Lead, World Investment Report
Palais des Nations, Geneva
Tel: +41 22 917 5797

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