7. Conclusions

Neil Patterson, Marie Montanjees, Colleen Cardillo, and John Motala
Published Date:
September 2004
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7.1 The growing importance of FDI in the world economy has placed the activities of direct investors and direct investment enterprises under increasing scrutiny and raised demands for more statistical work. Although countries are compiling and disseminating a greater amount of data on FDI transactions and stocks and increasingly are adopting the recommendations of the international statistical manuals, there remain important deficiencies in the coverage and comparability of data in both industrial and developing countries. The data deficiencies reflect the complexities of compiling FDI data, as well as the use by countries of different methodological practices in compiling these data.

7.2 Various international and regional organizations are working with countries to improve FDI statistics through the provision of methodological materials, technical assistance, and training courses and workshops. In connection with the updating of the BPM5 and the OECD Benchmark Definition, consideration will be given to possibly simplifying some of the present international recommendations, which many countries have found difficult to apply or explain to survey respondents (for example, the issue of indirectly owned enterprises). The SIMSDI will be repeated in 2004, with respect to country practices in 2003, to monitor countries’ efforts to implement the internationally agreed statistical recommendations for FDI statistics. It is expected that information will be obtained on the practices of over 100 countries.

7.3 The question arises whether these activities are sufficient to address emerging data requirements for comprehensive and comparable FDI statistics or whether a major internationally coordinated effort will be required, along the lines of the IMF-sponsored Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey.1 The IMF plans to investigate—in consultation with other international agencies, regional agencies, and member countries—the feasibility of conducting such a survey.

Under the auspices of the IMF, a Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS), involving the voluntary participation of 67 economies, was undertaken at end-2001. This followed the first CPIS, in which 29 major investing economies participated, which was conducted for end-1997. The purpose of the CPIS is to collect information on the stock of cross-border holdings of equities and long- and short-term debt securities valued at market prices and broken down by the economy of residence of the issuer. Holdings of securities that comprise direct investment are out of the scope of the survey. From 2002, the CPIS is being conducted on an annual basis. Considerable effort has been made to set standards for compilation of CPIS data by documenting best practices in compilation (see IMF, Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey Guide, second edition, 2002) and to draw on the synergies released by a coordinated effort to conduct such surveys for a common reference date. The result is a global database of cross-border holdings of securities and derived portfolio investment liabilities with the capacity for showing bilateral and partner-country data from the creditor or debtor perspective. See

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