Global flows of cross-border direct investment fell by 13 per cent in 2018, to USD 1,297 billion. In Europe, international direct investment was halved. The downturn was driven mainly by US companies’ massive repatriation of accumulated profits abroad, but the fall was mitigated by a strong global market for company mergers and acquisitions.

In 2018, the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Sweden amounted to SEK 87 billion, which is a decrease of 17 per cent from the previous year and below the average for the period 2000–2018. European companies continue to dominate FDI into Sweden. The services sector accounts for 60 per cent of FDI stock. Overall, foreign direct investment stock in Sweden amounted to SEK 2,909 billion in 2017 (the latest available figure), which represents 64 per cent of GDP.

Business Sweden’s trend forecast suggests that global direct investment will be positively influenced by a continued robust – if yet dampened – development of the world economy, the internationalisation of the business community in emerging markets and the increased presence of small and medium sized companies in the international marketplace. The ongoing technology shift in manufacturing as well as countries’ ambitions related to sustainable production will demand huge investments. Counterforces include rising protectionism, increased focus on near-market manufacturing as well as companies’ successive reorientation towards services, which are often produced in the local market and do not necessarily require large capital investment.

From a Swedish perspective, it is mainly the rapid internationalisation of Asia that will open new doors for investment: Swedish companies’ outward investments in Asia and Asian companies’ inward investments in Sweden. Asia was the recipient of 40 per cent of the global direct investment flows in 2018.

About the analysis

Business Sweden’s annual report on recent trends in corporate cross-border investment from both a global and Swedish standpoint.

The report gives an overview of global foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks and flows, including a list of top FDI destinations and factors that will determine the FDI outlook in the next three years. Source countries and targeted industries for FDI in Sweden is analysed in a separate section.

All analyses

FDI overview 2019
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FDI Overview 2018
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