China overtook the U.S. as the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020, a year in which overall global flows cratered by 42% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a United Nations trade agency said.
Flows fell to an estimated $859 billion from $1.5 trillion in 2019, according to the UNCTADInvestment Trends Monitor. It was the lowest level since the 1990s and 30% below the investment trough that followed the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
While the world as a whole struggled, China held on, said UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It became the world’s largest FDI recipient with flows rising by 4% to $163 billion.
A return to positive GDP growth and a targeted investment facilitation program helped stabilize investment in China after the first coronavirus lockdowns there, the agency said.
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