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We study the trends and fluctuations in greenfield foreign direct investment (GFDI) during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis on a global scale. We analyse the data of a data set of GFDI provided by fDi Markets (Financial Times) to understand the contraction of GFDI during the first three quarters of the year 2020, taking into account the sector of the investment and the host and home country. We analyse both the long-run trends and the quarter-over-quarter changes in GFDI to capture its fluctuations before and during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis. Our findings cast light on which countries’ and industries’ GFDIs were most affected by the pandemic crisis and draw a comparison to the global financial crisis. To our surprise, many services industries have shown unexpected resilience of GFDI due to the flexibility for remote work. On the contrary, GFDI in the manufacturing industries, as well as the extractives and the utility industries, has shown a dramatic decline during the pandemic. These contractions raise questions of stability and resilience of the global supply chains these industries are a part of.

JEL Codes: F21

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