The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has expressed strong optimism over the Middle East as source of investments after a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or Unctad, showed the region recording high foreign direct investment, or FDI, outflows last year.
According to the Unctad’s World Investment Report 2014, the Middle East’s FDI increased by 65 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. This growth was boosted by increasing flows from GCC states. FDI are resources put into the economy’s productive sectors.
The report stated that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman have a high level of foreign-exchange reserves, specifically in their respective oil and gas industries. Qatar and Kuwait led the GCC states in terms of investments abroad. Qatar increased its outflows by four-fold, while Kuwait surged by 159 per cent. Meanwhile, FDI flows to the UAE went up by nine per cent to reach $10.5 billion, making the country the second-highest FDI recipient in the Middle East in 2013 after Turkey.
Michel Alaby, general secretary and chief executive officer of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has always played a significant role in opening up opportunities from both regions to further their trade relations and investments. The Arab nations and Brazil have been key trade partners and this reflects in the robust increase in trade values. These positive numbers of FDI to Arabs reflect an emerging and promising market for as we do believe that this will affect positively the bilateral relation between Brazil and Middle East.”
In 2013, the report showed that global FDI flow reached $1.45 trillion, up nine per cent from 2012. The Unctad projects that FDI will further increase to reach $1.6 trillion in 2014, $1.75 trillion in 2015 and $1.85 trillion in 2016.
In Latin America, the FDI flow grew by six per cent in 2013 to reach $182 billion. Brazil, in particular, received a total of $64 billion in investments. According to the Unctad, the sectors that benefitted the most were automotive, electronics, and beverage industries. The organisation said it expects more investments in the Brazilian auto sector.