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Global Cross-Border Capital Flows Dropped 19% in Pandemic

COVID-19 restrictions took a heavy toll on global investment in 2020—in terms of cross-border flows into the U.S., outbound investment from this country and worldwide, reported CBRE’s Richard Barkham, Wei Luo and Andrea Cross. Foreign investment in the U.S. fell to a seven-year low of $28 billion, down by 31% from 2019, while U.S. outbound capital fell by 29% to $41.6 billion. Worldwide, global cross-border capital flows fell by 19% to $217 billion.

The 31% drop in U.S. inbound capital was most pronounced from EMEA-based investors, who accounted for 63% of the total absolute decline in volume. Canadian and APAC investors remained active. Cross-border investors exhibited strong appetite for U.S. logistics and core assets.

The U.S. continued to be a net buyer of foreign real estate in 2020, as capital outflow exceeded inflow by $14 billion, down from 2019’s net outflow of $18 billion.


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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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