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Foreign direct investment in LatAm hits record high in 2011

05-04-2012 15:11 BJT

SANTIAGO, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America reached a record of 153.45 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, representing 10 percent of the total global flows, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Thursday.

The figure was well above the previous record of 137.001 billion dollars registered in 2008, the commission said.

In 2010, the region received 120.88 billion dollars, while in 2009 the

international economic crisis caused a drop in investment to 81.589 billion dollars, according to the ECLAC.

Brazil was on the lead, receiving 66.66 billion dollars, amounting to a whopping 43.8 percent of the total, the commission said in its 2011 report.

It was followed by Mexico with 19.44 billion dollars, Chile 17.299 billion and Colombia 13.234 billion.

In Central America, FDI rose 36 percent compared with 2010, while in

the Caribbean, it increased 20 percent compared on a yearly basis.

"Although there is still uncertainty in the global financial markets, the Latin American and Caribbean economies attracted important amounts of foreign direct investment in 2011, which will remain high during 2012," ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena said while releasing the report.

The report said 46 percent of FDI net inflows in the region corresponded to re-investment of profit, reflecting that transnational companies have confidence in the region.

Nevertheless, the ECLAC warned of the growing trend of repatriation of profits by transnational corporations.

"FDI is not a unidirectional flow," Barcena noted, "FDI revenue transferred back to the countries of origin has increased from 20 billion dollars per year between 1998 and 2003 to 84 billion dollars between 2008 and 2010 per year."

The European Union (EU) as a bloc is the region's biggest investor, the ECLAC said, investing in the last decade an average of 30 billion dollars a year, or 40 percent of the total.

EU investments have gone mostly to South America and to strategic sectors such as electric power and banking.

China invested more than 8 billion dollars in the region last year, lower than the 15 billion dollars it invested in 2010, Barcena told Xinhua, saying it was still sizeable.

The ECLAC said that FDI has strengthened productive specialization in the LAC region.

In 2011, 57 percent of FDI in South America, with the exception of Brazil, went to the natural resources sector, 36 percent to services and 7 percent to manufacturing. @ "It is urgent to boost policies to direct FDI and take advantage of its potential benefits, including the transference of knowledge and technology," Barcena said.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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