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International investment position

Bar chart Germany's international investment position [+] The international investment position (IIP) shows all financial assets and liabilities of an economy´s residents vis-à-vis nonresidents, valued at market prices as at the end of the referring quarter at a point in time. Thus, the IIP provides information not only on the volume and structure of financial assets held abroad by residents, but also on financial assets held in Germany by non-residents. The IIP is a statistical statement which refers to a point in time; it completes the balance of payments statistics which record the value of all economic transactions between residents and non-residents in a given period. The integrated statement of external statistics reconciles IIP and balance of payments by emphasizing how changes in the IIP result from financial account transactions, revaluation effects due to exchange rate or other price movements, and other adjustments.

Dissemination practice

The international investment position (IIP) is compiled quarterly by the Deutsche Bundesbank and published as at the end of each quarter with a time lag of one quarter. The actual dissemination date is the last working day of each quarter. The annual IIP as at the end of the previous year is generated in September of each year using detailed data sources and published as a press release. 

The IIP is published in the following format:

  • Time series database
  • Press release
  • Monthly Report
  • Statistical Supplement 3 Balance of payments statistics
  • Special Statistical publication 11 Balance of payments by region

In order to reflect a complete picture of relations with non-residents, revisions of the underlying primary sources of statistical data (see below) and methodological changes are subsequently incorporated into the IIP as part of certain revision cycles. Publication dates and revision policy for the German balance of payments and the IIP can be found in the column on the right hand side under “Publications”.

Methodological notes

The international investment position (IIP) is a quarterly and annual stock statistics. Starting with the reporting period 2013, an additional reconciliation account is published which explains the stock changes of individual positions with financial account transactions, revaluation effects due to exchange rate or other price movements, and other adjustments. At the end of September 2014, the Deutsche Bundesbank has switched its methodological concept to the updated Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The new rules are binding for the EU member states by virtue of a Council regulation amended by the European Commission. Moreover, the reporting requirements for Eurosystem national centralbanks vis- à- vis the European Central Bank (ECB) are stipulated in detail in an ECB guideline.

The assets and liabilities of German residents are broken down by investment categories “Direct investment”, “Portfolio investment”, “Other investment”, “Financial derivatives and employee stock options”, and “Reserve assets”. Within the first three functional categories there is a further distinction between resident institutional sectors: “Monetary financial institutions (MFIs excluding the Bundesbank)”, “General government”, “Financial corporations excluding MFIs”, “Nonfinancial corporations, households, and non-profit institutions serving households”, and “Deutsche Bundesbank”. All these subdivisions are shown as assets (claims on non-residents), liabilities (liabilities to non-residents) and as the resulting balance (net value). In each case, the balance shows whether German residents or a particular economic sector has a net creditor or net debtor position vis-à-vis non-residents. The stocks recorded in the IIP are each valued at market prices as at the end of the reporting period.

The IIP is an important statistical indicator of the external sector in the context of the IMF’s "Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus" (SDDS Plus). Metadata are available on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). They describe the methodological, conceptual and institutional framework of the German IIP.

The IMF Report on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) summarizes to what extent countries observe certain internationally recognized standards. The ROSC for Germany was created in 2005 and represent, among other things, the results of the balance of payments and international investment position examination.

The Deutsche Bundesbank provides a standardized quality report for the balance of payments and international investment position statistics which is published within the statistical quality assurance framework concerning statistics underlying the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) indicators.

Further information on methodological adjustments to the IIP over time can be found in the following articles (see column on the right hand side under “Publications”):

  • Methodological adjustments to the international investment position, December 1999.
  • Germany’s international investment position since the beginning of monetary union: developments and structure, Article from the Monthly report, October 2008.
  • Changes in the methodology and classifications of the balance of payments and the international investment position, Article from the Monthly report, June 2014.
  • Methodological Changes Methodological Changes affecting Germany´s International Investment Position, Article from the Monthly report, October 2014.

Data sources

As a secondary statistic, the German international investment position (IIP) is mainly based on stock data gathered in the corresponding primary statistics. The main sources include

  • External position of the Bundesbank
  • External position of banks
  • External position of non-banks
  • Securities deposits statistics
  • Foreign direct investment stock statistics
  • Balance of payments statistics
  • Other internal and external sources