Foreign investment in Chile grew 43.4% between 2009 and 2010

Latin America and Southeast Asia saw the largest increases in foreign investment according to studies by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The 2010 fiscal year marked the first time in history that more than half of all money invested abroad went into emerging and developing economies.

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According to a report published today by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Chile experienced the third largest growth in foreign investment in Latin America, following Mexico and Peru.

On a global scale, increases in direct foreign investment increased less than one percent between 2009 and 2010, growing from US$1.114 billion to US$1.122 billion. In an interview with Chilean daily El Mercurio, the Director of the Conference’s investment and business division, James Zhan noted that this year marked the first time that more than half of the world’s foreign investment flow entered emerging and developing economies, which together experienced an overall growth of 9.7 percent.

Latin America and Southeast Asia were the primary recipients of direct foreign investment in the developing world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, a 21.1 percent increase brought total foreign investment in the region from US$116 billion to US$141 billion. Chile’s impressive 43.4 percent growth over the year came in close behind Mexico’s 53 percent growth and Peru’s 44.7 percent, while Brazil, which remains the region’s major destination for foreign investment, saw a growth of 16.3 percent this year.

The report from the Conference comes on the heels of a story in US financial magazine Forbes describing Chile as a “red hot destination” for investors. Throughout 2010, Chile’s steadily growing economy and business-friendly policies have garnered considerable attention from overseas investors. According to the UN Conference report, the single most important factor for the growth of foreign investment in Latin America was international mergers and acquisitions, particularly in mining, petroleum and gas, and foodstuffs. In all, these mergers and acquisitions brought as much as US$32 billion worth of investment into Latin America.

Though the overall flow of international investment has not yet recovered from the international financial crisis of 2009, the incredible growth of investment in Latin America, and Chile in particularly, indicates growing confidence in these exciting emerging nations overseas and a bright future for economic growth in the region.