News China has overtaken the U.S. as the biggest destination for foreign direct investment lifted market spirits in Asia on Monday, according to a MarketPulse analysis.

"The foreign direct investment story has lifted China and its near neighbors Monday, blowing an economic recovery tail wind into geographically adjacent markets," senior currency analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

China's economy generated more foreign direct investment compared with all others in 2020, overtaking the U.S. from its position, according to CNBC and other news reports.

China had $163 billion in foreign direct investment last year compared with $134 billion in the U.S., the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in a document released Sunday.

Foreign direct investment in the U.S. fell almost 50% last year while China investment climbed 4%, making the country the biggest recipient of foreign inflows for the first time as the world struggles to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

China imposed strict lockdowns to contain the health crisis after the virus was first reported in Wuhan and China's gross domestic product rallied 2.3% even as other large economies contracted in 2020.

The economic barometer accounts for investments in a country made by businesses in other nations - like the construction of factories or the opening of satellite offices.

In 2019, the U.S. attracted $251 billion in foreign direct investment while China got $140 billion.

In Europe, foreign direct investment was down by around two-thirds, the document shows, with the United Kingdom witnessing no new stable inflows. The UK has been particularly battered by the pandemic.

China, the second-biggest economy in the world, has surprised many with the pace of its economic recovery from the virus - especially as legislators have had to work with difficult ties between the U.S. and China on trade and other issues.

China has had fewer than 100,000 confirmed cases of the virus since the pandemic emerged and suffered around 4,800 fatalities, based on data by Johns Hopkins University.

Overall, world foreign direct investment fell more than 40% last year to almost $860 billion from $1.5 trillion the previous year, UNCTAD reported.