Wales has slumped to ninth in the UK inward investment league for 2005 after topping the list the previous year.
Rhodri Morgan drums up business at a trade fair in Xiamen in 2004
The number of new jobs created in Wales by overseas investors fell 36% over the 2004-2005 period, while the UK total rose 31% to a new record level.
Last year, inward investment created 2,593 jobs in Wales, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Welsh Development Agency (WDA) said the figures reflected the lack of any large individual project.
Between 2004 and 2005, jobs created by overseas investment in Wales accounted for 6.6% of the UK total.
In the 2003-2004 period, Wales accounted for 16% of the UK total, creating 4,064 jobs.
In slipping to ninth place in the league, Wales is only trailed in terms of investment from overseas by the East Midlands, the south west of England and the east of England.
INWARD INVESTMENT JOBS 2004-05
South East 5,379
North West 5,376
West Midlands 4,083
North East 3,947
Northern Ireland 2,627
Yorkshire & Humber 2,599
East Midlands 1,794
East England 1,648
South West 1,251
Total: 39,592. Source: DTI
First place has now been taken by the south east of England, followed by the north west and then Scotland.
The WDA said other parts of the UK were important sources of investment for Wales, and it had been performing well in that area.
Of the 94 investment projects recorded by a WDA team in Wales in the last financial year, 40 had come from other parts of the UK, the agency said in a statement.
As well as the lack of large individual projects affecting Wales' foreign investment performance between 2004 and 2005, competitiveness in the investment market had also contributed to the drop, according to the WDA.
The WDA added: "We believe that the searching review we have undertaken of our own efforts will enable us to enhance our own performance and our share of the inward investment market in future."