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Global investors set to increase investment in Europe

The majority of global investors polled in a new survey for the launch of Invest Week believe Europe has become a more attractive investment destination and expect investment to increase. 

For the Global Investment Decision Makers Survey, commissioned by Invest Europe, Ipsos MORI surveyed 360 senior-level corporate and financial investment decision makers at companies from the US, China, Germany, the UK and France. It found that over three-quarters of investors in China and 71 per cent of their US peers believe Europe is a more attractive investment destination than it was five years ago. Nine out of ten respondents from China believe investors will increase investment in Europe over the next five years and 74 per cent from the US agree.
Lower taxes should be a priority for policymakers if Europe is to attract more investment according to 43 per cent of investors in France, 38 per cent in the US and 37 per cent in China. The need for better investment incentives was ranked highly by 37 per cent of respondents from the US and China, and 26 per cent in Germany.
“There is clearly a robust appetite among global investors for European investment opportunities but policymakers need to consider what more they can do to attract capital,” says Michael Collins (pictured), CEO, Invest Europe. “These findings underpin the importance of bringing together European policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs at forums such as Invest Week to discuss how best to harness this interest.”
When asked to compare Europe, the US and China as investment destinations, 74 per cent of respondents listed Europe as the strongest performer on its commitment to sustainability and the environment. Almost three-quarters of respondents asserted that sustainability is an important issue in their investment decision making, indicating strong potential for drawing more capital into Europe. Eurozone stability, improved economic growth and higher returns on investment were cited as factors in Europe’s increased attractiveness. This month the European Commission forecast the highest Eurozone economic growth rate in ten years with real GDP growth forecast at 2.2 per cent.

Europe’s strength in sustainability is reflected in the industries in which it is seen as a global leader: 55 per cent of respondents rate the region ahead on energy and the environment, while 44 per cent said Europe leads in finance and insurance. Almost two thirds of investors in China highly regard Europe’s world-leading biotech and healthcare sector.
Closer integration of Europe’s capital markets has been a draw for almost half of investors in China and two out of five in the US. In addition, while two out of three investors rate Europe as above average for the efficiency of its capital markets, the US leads Europe in this area, underlining the need for the successful delivery of the EU’s Capital Markets Union initiative.
Access to global markets meanwhile, is an area where Europe is above average compared to other investment destinations according to 68 per cent of investors, while two out of five respondents picked increased innovation in Europe as a reason for its growing appeal over the last five years, while 36 per cent cited the improved start-up ecosystem. Nevertheless, the US still leads on innovation over Europe and China, reflecting the country’s strength in nurturing tech start-ups.
Over a fifth of US respondents would like policymakers to prioritise increased investment in innovation to make Europe more attractive as an investment destination, while four out of ten Chinese investors say closer integration of the EU single market for goods and services could increase Europe’s appeal in future.
With the UK set to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, 58 per cent of respondents from China say they are more likely to invest in the UK over the next five years as a result of Brexit and 47 per cent more likely to invest in the EU. The majority of US respondents envisaged no change to their investment strategies for the UK or the EU as result of Brexit. However, 55 per cent of investors based in Germany and 52 per cent from France say they are less likely to invest in the UK because of Brexit. 
93 per cent of respondents in China and 77 per cent from the US agree that EU policymakers are serious about appealing to international investors. French, German and British investors were less positive, with only 43 per cent responding positively from Germany. 
Invest Week is a week-long programme of events starting today in Brussels, discussing innovation and sustainability in European investment. Invest Europe is the association representing European private equity and venture capital, and their global investors. 

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