New OECD data and analysis show that global FDI flows plummeted to USD 846 billion in 2020, a 38 % decrease compared to 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a steady decline and contributed to sinking global FDI flows to their lowest levels since 2005. In 2020, global FDI flows represented only 1 % of world GDP, their lowest level since 1999.
Key findings include that:
- Global FDI flows decreased by 38 % in 2020 to USD 846 billion, their lowest level since 2005.
- Inflows to the OECD area decreased by 51 %, partly due to significant divestments from Switzerland and the Netherlands. Outflows from the OECD area decreased by 48 % to historically low levels not seen since 2005, also largely influenced by major divestments by companies in the Netherlands.
- FDI inflows to non-OECD G20 economies only decreased by 9 %, due to rebounds in China and India later in the year. FDI outflows across a number of non-OECD G20 economies dropped by 49 %.
- China overtook the United States as the top destination for FDI worldwide. India and Luxembourg (excluding resident Special Purpose Entities (SPEs)) trailed them as large FDI recipients.
- Luxembourg, the United States and Japan were the largest sources of FDI outflows. The United States has remained largely stable but Japan, and China, which follows, have seen a reduction of their FDI outflows in 2020.
- Similar to the behaviour observed during the global financial crisis, both FDI income paid by affiliates in OECD countries to foreign parents, and FDI income received by OECD parents, decreased by around 15 % in 2020.
- The rebound in cross-border M&A activity, which started in the second half of 2020 and continued in the first quarter of 2021 in advanced economies, with many deals in the healthcare and technology sectors, could boost FDI equity flows in 2021, unless further major divestments take place in 2021.
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More FDI statistics and analysis are available at www.oecd.org/investment/statistics.htm