Survey of Current Business

Survey of Current Business
Chronicling 100 Years of the U.S. Economy

July 2022
Volume 102, Number 7

U.S. International Investment Position

First Quarter 2022 and Annual Update

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The U.S. net international investment position (IIP)—the difference between U.S. residents’ foreign financial assets and liabilities—was −$17.75 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2022 (chart 1). Assets totaled $34.00 trillion, and liabilities were $51.75 trillion. At the end of the fourth quarter, the net investment position was −$18.12 trillion. The net investment positions and components of assets and liabilities are presented in table A.

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

The $375.8 billion change in the net investment position from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 came from net financial transactions of −$251.8 billion and net other changes in position, such as price and exchange-rate changes, of $627.6 billion. Net other changes mostly reflected decreases in U.S. stock and bond prices that exceeded decreases in foreign stock and bond prices, which lowered the value of U.S. liabilities more than U.S. assets (table A).

 

 

U.S. assets decreased by $1.07 trillion to a total of $34.00 trillion at the end of the first quarter, mostly reflecting price decreases in portfolio investment and direct investment assets (chart 2). Portfolio investment assets decreased by $817.4 billion to $15.49 trillion, driven mainly by decreases in foreign stock and bond prices. Direct investment assets decreased by $557.9 billion to $10.41 trillion, driven mainly by decreases in foreign stock prices that lowered the market value of direct investment equity assets.

Price changes, a component of other changes in position, drove the overall decrease in U.S. assets (table A).

U.S. liabilities decreased by $1.44 trillion to a total of $51.75 trillion at the end of the first quarter, mostly reflecting price decreases in portfolio investment and direct investment liabilities (chart 3). Portfolio investment liabilities decreased by $1.27 trillion to $27.21 trillion, driven mainly by decreases in U.S. stock and bond prices. Direct investment liabilities decreased by $682.6 billion to $14.13 trillion, driven mainly by decreases in U.S. stock prices that lowered the market value of direct investment equity liabilities.

Price changes, a component of other changes in position, drove the overall decrease in U.S. liabilities (table A).

With this annual update of the IIP Accounts, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has incorporated newly available and revised source data for 2019–2021 (table B). In addition, there are two updates that are beyond the scope of updated source data:

  1. The investment positions for short-term portfolio investment assets for 2012–2021 have been revised downward to incorporate improved methodology and source data for foreign commercial paper and other short-term securities assets.
  2. The investment positions for long-term portfolio investment liabilities have been revised upward for 2019–2021 to address a large series break in the source data provided to BEA on holdings of long-term portfolio investment that resulted from unusually large data revisions by respondents on the monthly “Aggregate Holdings of Long-Term Securities by U.S. and Foreign Residents” (SLT) report for June 2021. For more information about the SLT revisions, see footnote 5 in the “Footnotes and Notices” section of “Securities (B): Portfolio Holdings of U.S. and Foreign Securities.”

The revisions to portfolio investment assets and liabilities described above caused downward revisions to the net IIP in every quarter from 2012 to 2021 except for the third quarter of 2021, when updated source data caused a small upward revision (chart 4).

The annual update has not altered the direction of change of the net IIP. The combination of downward revisions to portfolio asset positions and upward revisions to portfolio liabilities from the third quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2021 caused the largest downward revisions to the net IIP. The largest downward revision at yearend was a downward revision of $696.2 billion at yearend 2020 (chart 4 and table B).

For more information about revisions to financial transactions that impacted the IIP, see “Annual Update of the U.S. International Transactions Accounts” in this issue of the Survey of Current Business. The U.S. International Economic Accounts: Concepts and Methods has also been updated to reflect changes implemented with this annual update.

BEA has added the two IIP tables 2.2 and 4.1, which were introduced in the IIP release on December 30, 2021, to the existing standard IIP table presentation in BEA's Interactive Data Application and Data Application Programming Interface.

Table 2.2, which was introduced with statistics on U.S. special purpose entities (SPEs), has been expanded to include foreign SPEs for 2019–2021. Table 2.2 features annual statistics on direct investment positions in foreign and U.S. SPEs, which are legal entities with little or no employment or physical presence.

Table 4.1 has been updated to include new statistics for the first quarter of 2022 and revised statistics for the first quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021. Table 4.1 features quarter-end position statistics on U.S. debt positions by currency, sector, and maturity for U.S. assets and liabilities.