These data are drawn from the IMF's International Financial Statistics (IFS) and Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS) databases.
Capital inflows capture transactions which generate changes in nonresidents' financial claims on the country. For example, a foreign firm acquiring an ownership stake in a domestic firm via foreign direct investment (FDI) or a nonresident buying a bond issued by a domestic firm (or government) are forms of capital inflows.
Capital outflows capture transactions that generate changes in residents' financial claims on nonresidents. For example, a resident acquiring from a nonresident a direct ownership stake in a foreign firm or a resident's purchase from a nonresident of a foreign stock are forms of capital outflows.
External liabilities are nonresidents' financial claims on a given country's residents, resulting from the accumulation of capital inflows, valuation changes due to changes in assets prices or exchange rates, and any other changes such as write-offs.
External assets are a given country's residents' financial claims on nonresidents, resulting from the accumulation of capital outflows, valuation changes due to changes in assets prices or exchange rates, and any other changes such as write-offs.
Capital flows and external assets/liabilities are separated into three main categories (in addition to official reserves on the outflows/assets side):
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows mainly measure transactions that increase nonresidents' direct equity in domestic firms with controlling interest, commonly defined as a share of ownership of at least 10 percent, net of any divestment. It also includes loans between parent and subsidiary firms and between subsidiaries of a common parent.
Portfolio investment inflows consist of nonresidents' purchases from residents of equity and debt securities originally issued by residents, net of nonresidents' sales to residents of these securities.
Banking inflows include capital flows not accounted for as FDI or portfolio investment. These consist mainly of loans (net of repayment) from nonresidents, primarily foreign banks; nonresidents' deposits in domestic banks; and domestic firms' trade credit and other accounts payable to nonresidents. The category is commonly referred to as "other investment " in balance of payments accounting.
We present the data two ways: aggregated, and disaggregated. The aggregated data break capital flows and international investment positions into the three categories listed above, plus official reserves on the outflows/assets side. The disaggregated data break down FDI and portfolio investment into their debt and equity components, and banking into loans; currency and deposits; and a residual "other banking " category which mainly consists of trade credit and other accounts payable/receivable.
Not all series are available for all the countries listed, and years of coverage vary by country. In some cases there are breaks in comparability; these are indicated in the source data available from the IMF.
Additional details on definitions and measurement are available in the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual, 6th Edition .
Milken Institute International Finance and Macroeconomic Research uses these and other data to analyze regional and global developments and policy issues in cross-border investment.