Foreign direct investment in Latin America will fall by up to 55 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, the UN's regional economic commission reported Wednesday.
The figures represent the world's "most pronounced" regional decline, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said in a report released at its headquarters in the Chilean capital Santiago.
"The drop for 2020 will be between 45 percent and 55 percent. In the context that global FDI is going to fall by 40 percent, we are falling more that the world, that's what matters," ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena told reporters in Santiago.
"The fall is very big and important, and not only because of the pandemic, which plays a role without a doubt, but business strategies are changing," she said.
Regional investment reached US$160.7 billion in 2019, 7.8 percent less than in 2018, a negative trend "that will become more acute in 2020" – mainly as a result of the pandemic, Bárcena said at a press conference presenting the report.
The fall of foreign investment has been a constant since 2012, when the region reached its historical maximum based on a boom in raw materials, she said.
Among the worst performing countries are Peru, where FDI fell by 72 percent in the third quarter, Colombia by 50 percent and Brazil by 45 percent. Argentina, using data from the third quarter, experienced a 35 percent fall from 2019 levels.
Only Mexico has held up relatively well, with a drop of six percent in the third quarter.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with most cases of Covid-19, with some 12.5 million people affected, earlier this week surpassing 400,000 deaths from the disease.