Introduction

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1.1 Growing international linkages through foreign direct investment (FDI) are an important feature of financial globalization and raise important challenges for policymakers and statisticians in industrial and developing countries alike. With the integration of international capital markets, world FDI flows grew strongly in the 1990s at rates well above those of global economic growth or trade. This has placed the activities of direct investors and direct investment enterprises under increasing scrutiny and presented new challenges for statistical recording, balance of payments projections, economic surveillance, and vulnerability analysis. This report surveys the recent state of FDI statistics at the international and national levels.

1.2 The IMF and other international and regional organizations are working with countries to improve FDI statistics by developing methodologies and providing compilation guidance (including information on country practices), and through technical assistance, training courses, and workshops.

1.3 Countries are compiling and disseminating more data on FDI transactions and stocks and increasingly are adopting the recommendations of international statistical manuals. However, despite these improvements, and reflecting the complexities of compiling these data, there remain important deficiencies in the coverage and comparability of data in both industrial and developing countries. One symptom of these deficiencies is the sizable discrepancies seen in global aggregations of FDI outflows and inflows published by the IMF. 1

1.4 This report provides an overview of (i) the available statistics on FDI (covering recent trends and data availability); (ii) the concepts and definitions set out in international statistical manuals- namely, the fifth edition of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual ( BPM5; IMF, 1993) and...

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