FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013
BEA 13-11
U.S. Net International Investment Position: End of the Fourth Quarter and Year 2012

Newly-Available Statistics

In this release, BEA introduces new U.S. international investment position statistics on a quarterly basis. The new statistics are available for the fourth quarter of 2005 through the fourth quarter of 2012. Previously-published yearend positions are not revised.

These new statistics are part of BEA's effort to provide more frequent and timely statistics on cross-border linkages to help users better assess U.S. vulnerability to external financial shocks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Going forward, quarterly statistics will be made available every March, June, September, and December via BEA news releases.

Fourth Quarter

The U.S. net international investment position at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012 was -$4,416.2 billion (preliminary) as the value of foreign investments in the United States exceeded the value of U.S. investments abroad (table 1). At the end of the third quarter, the U.S. net international investment position was -$4,663.4 billion. The $247.2 billion change in the net position reflected a $207.2 billion decrease in the value of foreign-owned assets in the United States and a $40.0 billion increase in the value of U.S.-owned assets abroad.

U.S.-owned assets abroad were $20,760.1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $20,720.2 billion at the end of the third quarter. The $40.0 billion increase reflected an increase of $318.6 billion in the value of U.S.-owned assets excluding financial derivatives that was mostly offset by a decrease of $278.7 billion in the value of financial derivatives.

U.S.-owned assets abroad excluding financial derivatives were $17,140.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $16,821.7 billion at the end of the third quarter. The $318.6 billion increase reflected $120.5 billion in financial outflows and $198.1 billion in valuation changes.1

Foreign-owned assets in the United States were $25,176.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $25,383.6 billion at the end of the third quarter. The $207.2 billion decrease reflected a decrease of $284.6 billion in the value of financial derivatives that was partly offset by an increase of $77.3 billion in the value of foreign-owned assets in the United States excluding financial derivatives.

Foreign-owned assets in the United States excluding financial derivatives were $21,614.4 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $21,537.0 billion at the end of the third quarter. The $77.3 billion increase reflected $176.0 billion in financial inflows and -$98.6 billion in valuation changes.

Year 2012

The U.S. net international investment position was -$4,416.2 billion (preliminary) at the end of 2012 compared with -$4,030.3 billion at the end of 2011. The -$386.0 billion change in the net position from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012 reflected a $372.3 billion decrease in the value of U.S.-owned assets abroad and a $13.7 billion increase in the value of foreign-owned assets in the United States.

U.S.-owned assets abroad were $20,760.1 billion at the end of 2012 compared with $21,132.4 billion at the end of 2011. The $372.3 billion decrease reflected a decrease of $1,084.9 billion in the value of financial derivatives that was mostly offset by an increase of $712.6 billion in the value of U.S.-owned assets abroad excluding financial derivatives.

U.S.-owned assets abroad excluding financial derivatives were $17,140.3 billion at the end of 2012 compared with $16,427.7 billion at the end of 2011. The $712.6 billion increase reflected $730.6 billion in valuation changes as prices of foreign stocks increased in 2012 after falling in 2011. Financial inflows of $17.9 billion were partly offsetting.

Foreign-owned assets in the United States were $25,176.3 billion at the end of 2012 compared with $25,162.6 billion at the end of 2011. The $13.7 billion increase reflected an increase of $1,030.2 billion in the value of foreign-owned assets in the United States excluding financial derivatives that was mostly offset by a decrease of $1,016.4 billion in the value of financial derivatives.

Foreign-owned assets in the United States excluding financial derivatives were $21,614.4 billion at the end of 2012 compared with $20,584.2 billion at the end of 2011. The $1,030.2 billion increase reflected $384.9 billion in financial inflows and $645.3 billion in valuation changes as prices of U.S. corporate stocks and bonds increased in 2012.

Additional statistics for the year 2012, including changes in positions resulting from financial flows and detailed valuation changes, along with historical revisions will be presented in the June 25, 2013 U.S. International Investment Position news release.

Valuing the Components of the U.S. International Investment Position

Investment positions for long-term portfolio securities are based on market values from annual surveys conducted by the Treasury International Capital (TIC) reporting system of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Investment positions for financial derivatives are based on fair market values from quarterly surveys conducted by the TIC reporting system. Investment positions for claims and liabilities reported by banks, securities brokers, and other nonbanks are based on contractual (face) values of instruments as reported by financial institutions for their own accounts or for the accounts of their customers. Contractual (face) values come from monthly and quarterly surveys conducted by the TIC reporting system with supplementary data for U.S. nonbanks from foreign central banks.

Investment positions for direct investment are valued at current-period prices based on a revaluation of book values. Book values are reported by U.S. multinational companies on surveys conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Direct investment at current cost is BEA’s featured measure of direct investment at current-period prices.2 The current-cost method values the U.S. and foreign parents’ shares of their affiliates’ investment in (1) plant and equipment using the current cost of capital equipment, (2) land using general price indexes, and (3) inventories using estimates of their replacement cost.3




Release dates in 2013

End of the fourth quarter and year 2012 March 26, 2013 (Tuesday)
End of the first quarter of 2013 and the year 2012 June 25, 2013 (Tuesday)
End of the second quarter of 2013 September 24, 2013 (Tuesday)
End of the third quarter of 2013 December 30, 2013 (Monday)

BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry statistics; the Survey of Current Business; and BEA news releases are available without charge at www.bea.gov. At the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.

1For statistics on financial flows, see the financial account transactions of the U.S. International Transactions Accounts in Table 1. Detailed valuation changes by type of change for the year 2012 will be presented in the June 25, 2013 U.S. International Investment Position news release.

2BEA publishes direct investment at market value as an alternative current-period price measure with owners’ equity revalued using indexes of stock market prices. BEA also publishes direct investment at historical cost with owners’ equity at the book value reported on BEA’s surveys. Country and industry detail for direct investment are available only on a historical-cost basis.

3For additional information on the current-cost and market-value methods, see J. Steven Landefeld and Ann M. Lawson, “Valuation of the U.S. Net International Investment Position,” Survey of Current Business 71 (May 1991): 40–49.