GLOBAL - Infrastructure investors are targeting scarce opportunities in developed markets to avoid political and operational risk, despite emerging economies' demand for capital to fund grand-scale projects.
In a global ranking of transport infrastructure programmes published by consultancy EC Harris, only China among the six 'most attractive' infrastructure markets had a significant investment programme.
Chile - which has a mature regulatory environment and a successful public-private partnership programme - was the only other emerging economy considered 'highly attractive' in the 17-country study.
Investors deemed India, which has the largest investment programme of any country studied, only 'moderately attractive' - most likely, the authors speculated, because of its government's reluctance of ratify anti-corruption conventions. The government has announced plans to invest $1trn (€700bn) in infrastructure over the next five years.
Russia, which has the world's third-largest investment programme, appeared in the 'less attractive' red zone for attractiveness - behind only Romania, Argentina and Venezuela (both for projects and attractiveness).
In contrast, Germany topped the poll as an attractive transport sector - despite ranking eighth for opportunities presented by a €150bn infrastructure plan earmarked for completion by 2015.
The poll measured the 17 countries against criteria including political and economic stability, government incentives and policies and private finance channels available for inward investment.
Its findings are an indication that politico-economic stability and effective regulation are trending upward on the list of investor concerns.
Its authors suggested that, despite plans for significant programmes to improve infrastructure, a lack of fiscal, political and operational clarity in India, Russia and Brazil had deterred inward investment.
Brazil has instigated an infrastructure development programme that includes a BRL50bn (€21.8bn) road-building programme, BRL46bn for rail, BRL3bn for airports and BRL5.1bn for ports.
In sectoral terms, government commitments to climate change targets are leading to greater investment in rail and port infrastructures.
However, there was significant diversity in investors' estimate of market attractiveness depending on the sector.
Gulf Cooperation Council states topped the poll for ports, while China scored highest for aviation after it announced it is to build 45 airports over the next five years. The US scored highest on roads.