Nearly $185 billion poured into Latin America and the Caribbean in foreign direct investment last year, a record for the region, a UN agency said Thursday.
Brazil and Mexico were the biggest beneficiaries of foreign investment, which region-wide was up 5.0 percent last year over 2012, the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean said.
The UN commission expects the trend to turn downward this year, however, because of falling prices for metals and slowing economic activity.
In some major countries, inflows of foreign direct investment were off sharply in 2013. It was down 29 percent in Chile, 25 percent in Argentina and 17 percent in Peru.
Average profitability of transnational companies was below 6.0 percent, its lowest level in a decade, but total profits rose to $111.7 billion.
Alicia Barcena, ECLAC's executive secretary, said foreign direct investment in the region has quadrupled over the past decade.
"Transnational companies still show great interest in the region's long-term growth in consumption and in the exploitation of natural resources," she said in a statement.
Europe was the largest investor overall in the region, and the United States the largest single investor, according to the agency.
China is estimated to have invested $10 billion a year in the region since 2010, although official statistics are scarce.