Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

U.K. Foreign Investment Sets Record, Boosted by Emerging Markets

  • 11% more projects backed by overseas cash, says government
  • U.S. still No. 1 source, but Latin American funding up 240%

A record number of overseas investments were made in the U.K. in the 2015-16 financial year, buoyed by a surge from emerging markets, making the country Europe’s most popular for external financiers.

Total projects funded by foreign direct investment rose 11 percent to 2,213, the Department for International Trade said in a statement Tuesday. FDI created or protected 116,000 jobs including in life sciences, financial and professional services, and energy and infrastructure.

“We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment,’’ said International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who called the figures a “continued vote of confidence’’ in the U.K.

Investors came from 79 countries, a record for one year. Projects funded from Latin America more than tripled, up 240 percent, and East European investment increased 131 percent.

The U.S. remained the U.K.’s largest source of outside financing, with 570 projects, followed by China, which accounted for 156, and India with 140.

Brexit Factor

The statistics, through April, show investors weren’t deterred by the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union. Time will tell if post-Brexit vote uncertainty has changed matters.

“As Britain approaches a time of economic change, we must continue to welcome investors that are willing to make a sustained, long-term commitment all across the country,’’ said Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, which represents U.K. business.

The U.K. is Europe’s most popular destination for foreign investment, according to the trade department’s data, which was drawn from Ernst & Young’s U.K. Attractiveness Survey, the Financial Times’ foreign direct investment report 2016 and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s FDI in Figures.

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