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BENGALURU: China was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak spread across the world during the course of the year, with the Chinese economy having brought in $163 billion in inflows.

China’s $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the United States, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report released on Sunday.

In 2019, the United States had received $251 billion in inflows and China received $140 billion.

China’s economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-striken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic rages unabated.

China’s gross domestic product grew 2.3% in 2020, official data showed last week, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year.

The world’s second-largest economy has surprised many with the speed of its recovery from the coronavirus jolt, especially as policymakers have also had to navigate tense US-China relations on trade and other fronts.

Overall, global FDI had collapsed in 2020, falling by 42% to an estimated $859 billion, from $1.5 trillion in 2019, according to the UNCTAD report.

FDI flows fell by 37% in Latin American and the Caribbean, by 18% in Africa, and by 4% in developing Asia, the report added.

East Asia accounted for a third of global FDI in 2020, while FDI flows to developed countries fell by 69%.

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