Business

More direct investments flowed into Asia last year

More direct investments flowed into Asia last year despite a decline globally, with China, Hong Kong and Singapore the biggest recipients, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

An estimated US$144 billion (S$189 billion) in foreign direct investment (FDI) went into China, while about US$85 billion landed in Hong Kong, Unctad's latest Investment Trends Monitor report showed. About US$58 billion entered Singapore.

That means China was the second biggest recipient of FDI inflow in the world last year, with Hong Kong in third place and Singapore in eighth. The US remained the biggest.

Based on the numbers in the same report a year ago, FDI pumped into Singapore rose from US$50 billion in 2016 to US$58 billion last year.

The FDI channelled into Singapore last year remained below the figures for 2014 (US$68 billion) and 2015 (US$65 billion).

Globally, FDI flows tumbled 16 per cent last year to about US$1.52 trillion, from a revised US$1.81 trillion in 2016, according to Unctad.

"FDI recovery continues to be on a bumpy road," said Unctad secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi.

A slump in FDI flows to developed countries (minus 27 per cent) was the principal factor behind the global decline, the report said.

Europe (minus 27 per cent) and North America (minus 33 per cent) saw a drop in FDI inflows last year, due mainly to a return to levels of inflows in Britain and the US after spikes in 2016.

The falls were tempered by an 11 per cent growth in FDI flows to other developed economies, particularly Australia.

Unctad expects the pickup in the global economy and trade to lift global FDI inflows to almost US$1.8 trillion in 2018. But it warned that "elevated political risks and policy uncertainty" could hamper the scale and alter the contours of FDI recovery. - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE