UK retains position as number one destination in Europe to invest in

The UK attracts more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock than Germany and France combined, a new study has revealed.

The finding has been published as part of a new study carried out by the United Nations.

Revealing the research at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday, the figures show that the UK has retained its position as the top destination in Europe to invest in.

It comes at a time when global foreign direct investment slides for the third consecutive year.

In total, FDI stock in the UK by the end of 2018 was worth $1.89 trillion (£1.48 trillion) – more than Germany ($939 billion) and France ($825 billion) combined.

FDI is defined as an investment made by a firm or individual in one country into business interests located in another country. The UK is particularly attractive to foreign investors – who may originate from a tightly regulated economy – due to its liberal attitude to trade, its skilled workforce and thriving growth opportunities.

In fact, the latest figures show that even in the face of an increasingly uncertain global economic environment, the value of inwards stock in the UK has increased by 77 per cent between 2010 and 2018.

Likewise, there has been a 20 per cent rise – after the 2016 referendum – in the number of announced cross-border greenfield projects into the UK, highlighting the UK’s retained strength in the global economy.

A greenfield investment is a project where foreign investors establish a new business or expand an existing one in UK territory. On average, there were 1,192 announced greenfield projects per year over the period between 2012 and 2016, compared to 1,428 projects over 2017 and 2018.

Commenting on the figures, International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “Today’s figures prove the British economy is by far the most attractive place in Europe for foreign direct investment, securing more than the impressive economies of Germany and France combined.

“The UK’s pro-business environment is what makes it one of the most prosperous countries in the world to invest in. From our booming tech industry to our world-leading financial services sector, investors from all over the world see Britain as their destination of choice for relocation.

“Despite global headwinds getting stronger, the British economy continues to demonstrate its resilience to operate in an increasingly uncertain global economic environment.”