UK defies Brexit odds as investment hotspot

The United Kingdom has defied uncertainty over Brexit to land the number one spot in a ranking of how attractive countries are for business investors over the coming year, according to a survey published yesterday.

It overtook the United States, holder of the top spot since 2014, which was followed by Germany, China and France, according to advsiory firm EY which conducted the survey.

“While the UK’s position may surprise some, given current uncertainty, mergers and acquisitions activity during the period since the 2016 EU referendum has remained strong,” EY said. Nearly three years after voters decided to take the country out of the European Union, the terms of Brexit remain unclear.

The threat of a no-deal shock to the economy was averted, at least for the time being, when Prime Minister Theresa May last week secured a Brexit delay until October 31.

British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday to try to reassure him that Brexit should not affect Japanese investments in the country which employ hundreds of thousands of workers.

The EY survey showed China returned to the top five investment destinations despite concerns about its trade war with the US. The US was a top destination for nine of the 10 most active cross-border investors, including China, EY said.

The fall in the pound since the Brexit referendum was not a major driver of foreign investment in Britain, it said.


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