Global Economy
US, China and UK lead top 25 target countries for foreign direct investment
By Michael Hennigan, editor of Finfacts
Jul 23, 2015 - 7:10 AM

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For the third year in a row, the US and China are ranked first and second as top target countries for foreign direct investment (FDI), while the UK continues its three-year rise to claim third position. Canada has a fourth rank and is followed by Germany.

The top 25 countries for future FDI decisions based on the preferences of senior executives of big multinational companies that which are headquartered in 27 countries, is compiled by AT Kearney, the US consultancy firm, and has been published annually since 1998.

The 2015 FDI Confidence Index shows that Italy gained eight spots, rising to 12th in this year’s Index while the Netherlands climbed nine ranks to 13th place. France moved up two spots to 8th as the government implemented tax incentives, simplified administrative procedures, and eased restrictions on investment activities.

Ireland is missing from the ranking while the four Nordic countries — Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland — are in the 2015 Index.

Ireland has investments by many of the big US firms but IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency, cannot be happy with the performance elsewhere in particular the low interest from Chinese firms.

China's overseas investments to surge; Ireland got €99m of €46bn invested in EU in 2000-2014

AT Kearney says that the Index is constructed using primary data from a proprietary survey administered to senior executives of the world’s leading corporations. "Respondents include C-level executives and regional and business heads. The participating companies represent 27 countries and span all sectors. To reflect the increasing influence of developing markets in FDI, this year more than one-third of respondent companies were headquartered in developing countries. The survey was conducted in January 2015."

The Index is calculated as a weighted average of the number of high, medium, and low responses to questions of direct investment in a market over the next three years. Index values are based on non-source-country responses. For example, the Index value for the United States was calculated without responses from US-headquartered investors. Higher Index values indicate more attractive investment targets. The sample of countries included in the survey accounts for approximately 90% of FDI inflows."

FDI flow figures are the latest statistics available from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and all 2014 FDI figures quoted are estimates. Other secondary sources include investment promotion agencies, central banks, ministries of finance and trade, and other major data sources.

The firm says that since the inception of the FDI Confidence Index in 1998, the 10 most attractive FDI destinations have consistently received 50% or more of global FDI inflows roughly one year after the survey. Over the same period, on average, the top five countries have captured 35% of global FDI inflows. "There is an even stronger correlation between index ratings and future bricks-and-mortar FDI, especially after correcting for anomalies, such as those stemming from tax havens," AT Kearney said.

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