China beats America with US$163b inflows

Business | Reuters and Winnie Lee 26 Jan 2021

China was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak spread across the world during the course of the year, with the Chinese economy attracting inflows of US$163 billion (HK$1.27 trillion).

That compared with US$134 billion drawn in by the United States, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in a report released on Sunday.

In 2019, the United States had received US$251 billion in inflows and China received US$140 billion.

China's economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-stricken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic continues.

China's gross domestic product grew 2.3 percent in 2020, official data showed last week, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year.

The world's second-largest economy has surprised many with the speed of its recovery from the coronavirus jolt, especially as policymakers have also had to navigate tense US-China relations on trade and other fronts.

Overall, global Foreign Direct Investment collapsed in 2020, falling by 42 percent to an estimated US$859 billion, from US$1.5 trillion in 2019, the UNCTAD report said.

"FDI finished 2020 more than 30 percent below the trough after the global financial crisis in 2009," the UNCTAD said on Sunday.

East Asia accounted for a third of global FDI in 2020, while FDI flows to developed countries fell by 69 percent.

The yuan fell in the morning but closed higher. It rose 14 pips to 6.4763 per one US dollar.

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