Survey of Current Business
April 2020
Volume 100, Number 4

U.S. International Investment Position

Fourth Quarter and Year 2019

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The U.S. net international investment position—the difference between U.S. residents’ foreign financial assets and liabilities—was −$10.99 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 (chart 1). Assets totaled $29.32 trillion, and liabilities were $40.31 trillion. At the end of the third quarter, the net investment position was −$10.98 trillion.

The U.S. international investment position is a statistical balance sheet that presents the dollar value of U.S. external financial assets and liabilities at a specific point in time. A negative net investment position represents a U.S. net liability to the rest of the world.

The −$14.1 billion change in the net investment position from the third quarter to the fourth quarter came from net financial transactions of −$91.2 billion and net other changes in position, such as price and exchange rate changes, of $77.1 billion (table A).

The U.S. net international investment position was −$10.99 trillion at the end of 2019, compared to −$9.55 trillion at the end of 2018 (chart 1). The −$1.44 trillion change in the net investment position from the end of 2018 to the end of 2019 came from net financial transactions of −$395.9 billion and net other changes in position, such as price and exchange rate changes, of −$1.04 trillion (table C).

 

 

U.S. assets increased by $1.04 trillion to a total of $29.32 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, mostly reflecting increases in portfolio investment and direct investment assets (chart 2). Portfolio investment assets increased by $874.6 billion to $13.51 trillion, and direct investment assets increased by $471.5 billion to $8.84 trillion. These increases were driven mainly by foreign stock price increases and the appreciation of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar that raised the value of these assets in dollar terms.

Other changes in position contributed to the overall increase in U.S. assets (table A).

U.S. liabilities increased by $1.05 trillion to a total of $40.31 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, mostly reflecting increases in direct investment and portfolio investment liabilities (chart 3). Direct investment liabilities increased by $641.3 billion to $10.58 trillion, and portfolio investment liabilities increased by $614.4 billion to $21.48 trillion. These increases were driven mainly by U.S. stock price increases that raised the value of these liabilities.

Both financial transactions and other changes in position contributed to the overall increase in U.S. liabilities (table A).

The U.S. international investment position statistics for the third quarter of 2019 have been updated to incorporate newly available and revised source data (table B).

The U.S. net international investment position was −$10.99 trillion at the end of 2019, compared to −$9.55 trillion at the end of 2018 (table C).

U.S. assets increased by $4.08 trillion to a total of $29.32 trillion at the end of 2019, reflecting increases in all major categories of assets, particularly in portfolio investment and direct investment assets (chart 2). Portfolio investment assets increased by $2.02 trillion to $13.51 trillion, and direct investment assets increased by $1.33 trillion to $8.84 trillion. These increases were driven mainly by foreign stock price increases that raised the value of these assets.

Both financial transactions and other changes in position contributed to the overall increase in U.S. assets (table C).

U.S. liabilities increased by $5.51 trillion to a total of $40.31 trillion at the end of 2019, reflecting increases in all major categories of liabilities, particularly in portfolio investment and direct investment liabilities (chart 3). Portfolio investment liabilities increased by $2.76 trillion to $21.48 trillion, and direct investment liabilities increased by $2.10 trillion to $10.58 trillion. These increases were driven mainly by U.S. stock price increases that raised the value of these liabilities.

Both financial transactions and other changes in position contributed to the overall increase in U.S. liabilities (table C).