UK holds more foreign investment than Germany and France combined

The UK held more inwards Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock than Germany and France combined by the end of 2018 according to the latest United Nations data released today.

  • Inwards investment stock in the UK by the end of 2018 was worth $1.89 trillion (£1.48 trillion).
  • The UK has the highest amount of inwards investment stock in Europe and 3rd highest in the world.
  • Number of announced greenfield FDI (new investment) projects into the UK registered a 20% increase after the 2016 referendum.

Figures released today by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show despite the increasingly uncertain global economic environment, the UK has retained its position as the top destination in Europe for foreign direct investment (FDI). Inwards investment stock into 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.

Inward FDI stock refers to the accumulated capital value of foreign companies operating in the UK. Between 2010 and 2018, the value of inwards stock in the UK has increased by 77%, demonstrating foreign companies operating here operate in a supportive and innovative business environment which encourages wealth creation, and the increase and safeguarding of jobs in the UK.

The increase in the value of UK stock since 2010 ($822 billion) was worth nearly as much as the total value of French inwards stock by the end of 2018. In fact, over the past year the value of inward stock into the UK increased by 21%, compared to just 1% in Germany and a 6% fall in France.

There are further signs overseas confidence in the British economy remains strong; there has been a 20% increase after the 2016 referendum in the number of announced cross-border greenfield (new investment) projects into the UK. On average there were 1,192 announced projects per year over the period 2012-2016, compared to 1,428 projects over 2017-2018.

Overall between 2014 and 2018 there were 6,714 greenfield projects into the UK, more than anywhere else in Europe, and more than France (3,283) and Spain (2,765) combined.

Secretary of State, Dr 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 1 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.”