Foreign direct investment - flows


Data extracted in May-June 2017

Planned article update: June 2019

Highlights

In 2015, the United States was the biggest origin of inward investment in the EU with FDI flows of €252.4 billion.

In 2014, financial and insurance activities accounted for the highest share of both inward and outward flows of EU-28 FDI.

Top 10 flows of extra-EU foreign direct investment, EU-28, 2015
(billion EUR)
Source: Eurostat (bop_fdi6_geo)

Globalisation patterns in EU trade and investment is an online Eurostat publication presenting a summary of recent European Union (EU) statistics on economic aspects of globalisation, focusing on patterns of EU trade and investment.

As with domestic investment, flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) can exhibit a very high degree of volatility from one year to the next. These changes may be linked to global economic fortunes, sector-specific developments, or the individual situations of enterprises considering foreign investments. The information presented in this article examines flows of FDI between the EU-28 and non-member countries.

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EU-28 FDI investment partners

The rebound in FDI flows in 2015 was most apparent with the EU’s principal investment partner

The EU-28’s flows of direct investment declined sharply in 2014 and rebounded the following year. This development was observed for both flows of EU-28 FDI that were destined for abroad, as well as direct investment flows coming into the EU-28. The reductions in 2014 could be largely attributed to large-scale disinvestments, while the upturn in FDI flows in 2015 could be mainly attributed to stronger mergers and acquisition (M & A) activity.

In 2015, a sizeable proportion of the EU-28’s outward flows of FDI were destined for the United States (EUR 323.5 billion), while the levels of FDI destined for Bermuda (EUR 54.6 billion) and Switzerland (EUR 48.8 billion) were relatively similar. The value of the EU-28’s direct investment flows to Brazil, Singapore and South Africa stood within the range of EUR 24-29 billion, while Mexico, Japan and Turkey were the only other partners to receive at least EUR 10 billion of FDI from the EU-28 in 2015 (see Figure 1).

In 2015, the United States was, by far, the biggest origin of inward investment in the EU-28. The value of its FDI flows into the EU-28 was EUR 252.4 billion; as such, the EU-28 was a net investor with its principal partner in 2015, with a surplus of EUR 71.1 billion. Switzerland was the second largest investor in the EU-28, its flows of FDI were valued at EUR 78.3 billion; this meant that Switzerland was a net investor in the EU-28 to the value of EUR 29.5 billion in 2015. Two offshore financial centres — the British Virgin Islands and Jersey — had the third and fourth highest flows of FDI into the EU-28, while Canada, Curaçao and Singapore were the only other partners that provided at least EUR 10 billion of FDI into the EU-28 during 2015.

Figure 1: Top 10 flows of extra-EU foreign direct investment, EU-28, 2015
(billion EUR)
Source: Eurostat (bop_fdi6_geo)

EU-28 FDI flows by activity

In 2014, financial and insurance activities accounted for the highest share of both inward and outward flows of EU-28 FDI

In 2014, the largest flows of outward FDI from the EU-28 to non-member countries were recorded for financial and insurance activities (EUR 67.2 billion), mining and quarrying (EUR 35.9 billion) and manufacturing (EUR 35.5 billion). Financial and insurance activities also recorded the highest value of inward investment flows into the EU-28 (EUR 46.7 billion in 2014), while manufacturing was the only other activity — apart from the residual category of other economic activities — to record inward investment valued at more than EUR 10 billion (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Extra-EU foreign direct investment flows, by economic activity, EU-28, 2014
(billion EUR)
Source: Eurostat (bop_fdi6_flow)

Source data for tables and graphs

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Balance of payments - International transactions (BPM6)


Balance of payments - International transactions (BPM6)
European Union direct investments (BPM6)