U.S. tops confidence survey on foreign investment, displaces China

Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:59pm EDT
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By Daniel Bases and Manuela Badawy

NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - After a 12-year hiatus, the United States reclaimed first place among top executives in a survey on foreign direct investment sentiment, displacing China as it makes progress toward sustainable and steady economic growth, a study showed on Wednesday.

The United States jumped from fourth place in 2012, according to the 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a survey of more than 300 executives from 28 countries by global consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

The survey, conducted between October and November of last year, highlighted executives' views that U.S. workers are becoming more competitive and, until recently, the weakness in the U.S. dollar helped improve the country's exports profile.

Combined with a recovering housing market and the surge in production of unconventional oil and gas, the United States took back the top spot for the first time since 2001 despite still serious fiscal policy uncertainty and sizeable debt issues.

More than half the respondents believe the global economy will recover from the financial crisis and recessions in 2014 (26 percent) and 2015 (28 percent). That is a shift in sentiment from 2010 when 42 percent believed the recovery would occur in just one year.

"Investors are demonstrating more mature judgment about what the risks are and what the expected returns will be and how long it will take the global economy to recover," Paul Laudicina, chairman emeritus of A.T. Kearney, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The FDI Confidence Index ranks countries on how political, economic and regulatory changes will affect foreign direct investment.

The United States is the top recipient of FDI inflows for a sixth consecutive year, according to the survey.   Continued...