Download publication

Working Paper

Returns on foreign assets and liabilities: exorbitant privileges and stabilising adjustments

Large stock of foreign assets and liabilities could foster international risk diversification. US, British and Japanese investors earn high yields on FDI assets, which might also relate to tax, intellectual property and financial sophistication issues. Valuation changes on net foreign assets had a stabilising impact.

By: and Date: November 29, 2017 Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation

Financial globalisation has led to large increases in foreign assets and liabilities in recent decades, increasing the scope for valuation changes that are potentially greater than trade or financial flows.

We confirm that the United States enjoys an ‘exorbitant privilege’ on flow income from foreign assets, which is primarily related to foreign direct investment (FDI). The geographical allocation of FDI assets explains only a small part of the US yield advantage. The key reason is that US, and also British and Japanese, investors were able to outperform the average yield earned in the countries of their FDI destinations, while most continental European investors earn the average. Further research should explore if large FDI investment in ‘tax optimisation’ countries, the improper consideration of intellectual property, or financial sophistication contributed to these high yields.

For several countries, valuation changes were larger than current account and financial transactions, highlighting the importance of such changes. In the European Union, the generally negative international investment positions of a number of central and southern European countries were greatly supported by EU transfers.

Valuation changes on net foreign assets do not look random and played an important role in the sustainability of international investment positions before and after the 2008 crisis. Countries with negative net international investment positions tend to have positive revaluation gains, while countries with large net foreign assets tend to suffer from revaluation losses. Large net foreign asset holders including China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Japan and Germany, suffered significant losses in 2007-16, helping the sustainability of the negative positions of other countries. Risk sharing was also fostered by losses suffered by the US since 2007. There is no uniform tendency in relation to the asset classes from which these losses arose. Future research should aim to better understand the drivers of these valuation changes.

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

Germany’s foreign economic policy: four essential steps

Germany and the EU need to develop a strong and proactive agenda to manage foreign economic relations, which are essential for German and European prosperity.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 23, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

External Publication

Investing in China: myths and realities

Concerns are real, but the country fares as well as peers at similar levels of development. Analysis published in fDi Intelligence.

By: Uri Dadush and Pauline Weil Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: September 20, 2021
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

Policy Contribution

A green fiscal pact: climate investment in times of budget consolidation

Increasing green public investment while consolidating deficits will be a central challenge of this decade. A green fiscal pact would address this tension, but difficult trade-offs remain.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 9, 2021
Read article More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Environmental, societal and governance criteria: hit or miss?

Is sustainable investing contributing to society’s climate and social goals, or preventing systemic change?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: August 26, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

How much investment do we need to reach net zero?

The size and scope of investments needed to reach net zero will have significant macroeconomic implications.

By: Klaas Lenaerts, Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate Date: August 25, 2021
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Small investors punch above their weight when it comes to improving corporate governance

Far from being irresponsible know-nothings, retail investors provide a vital counterpoint to institutional investors.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: August 25, 2021
Read article
 

Blog Post

Will European Union recovery spending be enough to fill digital investment gaps?

The recovery facility will boost digital transformation, but questions remain whether it will be sufficient to achieve Europe’s digital ambitions.

By: Zsolt Darvas, J. Scott Marcus and Alkiviadis Tzaras Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 20, 2021
Read article Download PDF
 

External Publication

Building the Road to Greener Pastures

How the G20 can support the recovery with sustainable local infrastructure investment.

By: Mia Hoffmann, Ben McWilliams and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Global Economics & Governance, Testimonies Date: July 15, 2021
Read article More by this author
 

Blog Post

SPACs in the gap

Special-purpose acquisition vehicles could fill a gap in European equity markets and lure risk-averse investors off the sidelines.

By: Rebecca Christie Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 13, 2021
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

A breakdown of EU countries’ post-pandemic green spending plans

An analysis of European Union countries’ recovery plans shows widely differing green spending priorities.

By: Klaas Lenaerts and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 8, 2021
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

Policy Contribution

Commercialisation contracts: European support for low-carbon technology deployment

To cut the cost of decarbonisation significantly, the best solution would be to provide investors with a predictable carbon price that corresponds to the envisaged decarbonisation pathway.

By: Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: July 1, 2021
Read article
 

Opinion

Relaunching transatlantic cooperation with a carbon border adjustment mechanism

The best way for the EU and the US to jointly introduce carbon border adjustment would be to form a ‘climate club’.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate, Global Economics & Governance Date: June 11, 2021
Load more posts