SANTIAGO – The flow of foreign direct investment to Latin America and the Caribbean decreased 16 percent in 2014 to $158.8 billion, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, known as ECLAC, said on Wednesday.
The results mark a reversal of the trend of growing FDI during the last decade, with declines only in 2006 and 2009, and the figure is expected to fall again this year, ECLAC said.
Between 2003 and 2013, foreign direct investment in the region increased from $46.94 billion to a record $189.95 billion.
The fall in FDI last year was due to the economic slowdown in the region and the fall in prices for commodity exports, according to the report.
Worldwide, foreign direct investment decreased 7 percent in 2014, though flows to developing countries increased 5 percent, mostly as a result of the performance in Asia.
Alicia Barcena, ECLAC’s executive secretary, said the countries in the region should not strive to recover the levels of FDI achieved during the last decade, but rather to “attract investment that contributes to productive diversification.”
“This means to structure the FDI with industrial policies and national development strategies based on equality and environmental sustainability,” she said.
Brazil remains the region’s main destination for FDI, followed by Mexico and Chile.
ECLAC’s report shows that foreign direct investment in natural resources has fallen from 23 percent in 2009-2013 to 17 percent in 2014. The manufacturing sector remained stable, at 35 percent of all FDI, while investment in services soared to 47 percent.