China, India, Brazil Top 3 Favorite Investment Destinations in 2012 - UN

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GENEVA, Sept. 9 (Reuters) - The world's biggest companies are planning to boost their international investments over the next two or three years, with most spending planned in major emerging economies, according to a United Nations study.China, India and Brazil are the top three target countries for foreign direct investment (FDI) until the end of 2012 with the United States, for years number one, now in fourth place, the UN trade and development agency UNCTAD said.The Geneva-based agency, which acts as a think-tank on economic trends in developing nations, said the global economic crisis from 2008 was less harmful than feared for investment.The conclusions were based on a survey of the FDI climate among 236 leading multinational corporations and 116 investment promotion agencies.Global investment flows slumped in 2008-09 as a result of the economic downturn but are expected to recover slowly in 2011 and 2012.Incoming FDI, mostly from richer countries like the United States and the bigger powers in the 27-nation European Union, is a key component in development plans for many poorer countries.But in recent years big firms based in the more successful emerging economies have taken a growing role, investing in both rich and poor nations, often through mergers and acquisitions.The crisis had accentuated a shift of the geographical focus of FDI towards developing and former communist economies. …