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Foreign investment in UK falls amid Brexit uncertainties

Christian Fernsby |
Despite being the top European destination for foreign investment, the United Kingdom (UK) has seen the number of new inward investment projects in 2018-2019 stand at 1,782, down by 14 percent compared with 2017-2018, likely due to the Brexit uncertainties.

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The bulk of the foreign investment projects were located in London and the rest of England, taking up 1,518 projects. New jobs created by the projects across the UK just exceeded 57,000, a drop of 24 percent year on year, according to figures published by the Department for International Trade.

Advanced engineering and supply chain, business and consumer services, creative and media, automobile, electronics and communications were the sectors that attracted the most foreign investment.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: "Despite global economic headwinds and a competitive investment environment, the UK continues to be the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Europe, accumulating more FDI stock than Germany and France combined."

Figures showed the U.S. continued to be Britain's number one source of foreign direct investment investing in 440 projects in the UK, followed by Germany and India. The UK attractiveness to European neighbors remained strong, with Ireland, Netherlands, Italy and France increasing investment projects in the country.

Fox said his department would continue to promote the strengths of the UK as a great inward investment destination, with an open, liberal economy, world-class talent and business friendly environment.

The latest data by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that by the end of 2018, the total value of the UK's inwards investment stock was 1.89 trillion pounds, the highest in Europe and third highest in the world. The value of the UK's inwards stock was also worth more than Germany and France combined.

However, Brexit uncertainty has held back some investors. Concerns over Brexit have reduced the UK appeal as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly with an obvious decrease in the number of manufacturing FDI projects, according to EY's European Attractiveness Survey 2019.

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