Spanish direct investment in Brazil in 2013 totaled 6 billion reais (about $2.538 billion), almost triple the 2.3 billion reais ($972 million) the Iberian nation invested in the South American giant in 2012, business sources reported Thursday.

The figure will grow in the coming years, according to data provided by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Brazil, which projects that investment by the 20 largest Spanish companies in the country will total 41.6 billion reais (some $17.6 billion) during 2014-2016.

The figures were released on Wednesday at a working breakfast attended by Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and the Chamber's board of directors during the prince's one-day visit to Sao Paulo.

According to the updated information compiled by the Chamber, which gathers figures from the Brazilian Central Bank and the country's Industrial Development and Foreign Trade Ministry, cumulative Spanish direct investment in Brazil since the 1990s has amounted to 177.7 billion reais (some $75.2 billion).

In 2013, according to Brazilian government figures, the current account total between Brazil and Spain was 2.6 billion reais (some $1.1 billion).

According to the Chamber, Spanish companies operating in Brazil in 2013 invested more than 256 million reais ($108 million) in social projects that benefitted 20 million people, directly generated 158,000 jobs and indirectly created 155,000 and served 173 million Brazilian customers. EFE