Foreign investors poured 5.3 billion USD into the country in the first half of the year, down roughly 1.9 percent against the same period last year, the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency reported.

During the period, foreign investors also registered to pump nearly 5.67 billion USD into 587 projects, equal to only 62.7 percent of that invested in the same period last year. Of the investments, 455 were newly licensed projects with a total registered capital of 4.4 billion USD and the remaining 132 were existing projects accepting additional capital totalling 1.27 billion USD.

Processing and manufactur-ing topped the list of foreign direct investment targets, with 205 projects and 3.3 billion USD of registered capital, accounting for 58.8 percent of the country's total FDI registered capital in the first six months. The construction industry followed with 54 projects totaling 474.8 million USD.

Among 38 countries and territories invested in Vietnam in the first six months of the year, Singapore was the largest investor with 1.33 billion USD, followed by the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong with 673.6 million USD and 631.8 million USD, respectively.

Attracting 1.47 billion USD of FDI registered capital in the first six months, HCM City was the country's biggest destination for foreign investors. The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Hanoi ranked the second and third with 550.1 million USD and 498.5 million USD, respectively.

The agency also reported foreign invested firms fetched 22.95 billion USD from exports in the first half of the year, up 31.1 percent over the same period last year. The firms also spent 21.36 billion USD for imports during the period, up 29.5 percent.

Despite a decline in FDI attraction during the first half of the year, industry insiders expect a rebound, especially from Japan, in the coming months.

Director of the Foreign Investment Research Centre Phan Huu Thang said that many Japanese investors had recently sought further information on investing in Vietnam, especially in the support industry, due to difficulties they faced in the wake of the recent tsunami. /.