New results of the foreign direct investment stock statistics

The results of the foreign direct investment stock statistics at year-end 2010 reflect both the developments in the global economy, which were driven in particular by the Asian emerging market economies, and the structural strengths of the German economy. During the period under review, the intensive cross-border investment of multinational enterprises resulted in German direct investment stocks abroad exceeding the trillion-euro threshold for the first time. In addition to the strong profitability of foreign direct investment enterprises, the devaluation of the euro vis-à-vis most major currencies compared with year-end 2009 also contributed to the increase in direct investment assets (which were originally denominated in foreign currency) owing to valuation reasons. The direct investment activity of foreign investors in Germany rose at a much more moderate pace, but here, too, the positive development in profitability as well as the granting of loans by associated foreign enterprises led to an expansion of foreign corporate assets in Germany.

During the course of 2010, German primary direct investment stock abroad increased by €85 billion to €1,003 billion. One-third of this growth is attributable to the euro-area countries, with the Netherlands (which is a very important location for holding companies) alone accounting for more than one half of this share. Outside Europe, alongside the United States, more and more Asian countries profited from German investors’ activities. This becomes particularly evident if the consolidated aggregate of primary and secondary foreign direct investment is considered under exclusion of dependent holding companies. If this calculation is used, the euro-area countries account for only a fifth of the overall growth in stocks, while almost as high a share is attributable to Asian countries, in particular China and Japan, during the period under review. The importance of this dynamic economic area is made clear by various ratios. On balance, Asia accounted for more than half of the additionally recorded direct investment enterprises abroad, as well as for two-fifths of the increase in turnover and more than 80% of additional employees.

Between the end of 2009 and the end of 2010, foreign investors increased their assets held in the form of primary direct investment in Germany by €31 billion to €700 billion. By far the greater part of the increase is attributable to capital suppliers in European countries. The special role of Luxembourg and the Netherlands as holding locations is above all demonstrated by the consolidated aggregate of primary and secondary direct investment stocks. The results show that almost half of the growth stemmed from these two countries. However, the shareholders who are ultimately behind the investments are primarily investors from the United States and the United Kingdom, who have extended their corporate investment in Germany via holding companies located in Luxembourg and the Netherlands. On balance, the number of direct investment enterprises recorded in Germany declined slightly to 14,100 and the number of persons employed at the enterprises stagnated at around 2.6 million. By contrast, turnover rose by 7% to just under €1.3 trillion, probably not least as a result of the favourable German economic situation during the period under review.

Further information and detailed data can be found in the Special Statistical Publication 10 “Foreign direct investment stock statistics” (only in German):