EU Foreign Direct Investment flows in 2018


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Overall disinvestment in EU FDI flows in 2018

The 2018 preliminary results indicate a general disengagement of direct investment capital circulating between the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) net outflows from the European Union towards extra-EU were negative at -€60 billion, strongly contrasting with the amount invested in 2017 (€301 billion). The disinvestment from the EU market operated by extra-EU direct investors was even more pronounced with approximately -€205 billion of FDI inflows removed, barely counterbalancing the extra EU FDI inward flows observed in 2017 (€265 billion).

It is the relationship with the US market that suffers the most from the overall decline in FDI capital exported. The preliminary estimates shows that US firms withdrew nearly -€177 billion of net FDI capital from the EU market. This alone caused the overall downward trend of FDI flows into the EU. Similarly, EU direct investors withdrew from the US market, with a net disinvestment of -€165 billion.

Infographic illustrating the top 2 investors and top 2 destination of EU foreign direct invesment for 2018


Canada and, to a lesser extent, Switzerland were the main direct investors in the EU. Most of the EU’s FDI net acquisitions abroad were made on Canadian and Swiss markets.

In 2018, more than €90 billion was invested by EU companies in Canada and nearly €57 billion of net liabilities were incurred by EU direct investment enterprises to their Canadian direct investors.

Just behind, Switzerland shows a certain regularity in its FDI relationship with the EU even though the 2018 preliminary estimates highlight a lower level of EU exports and imports of FDI capital with the Swiss market (€63 billion and €27 billion respectively) compared to 2017. EU FDI outflows and inflows with Switzerland remained significant in 2018, keeping Switzerland in the list of major FDI actors on the EU market.


Other partners

Even though the preliminary estimates cover a restricted list of partners, the amounts invested in the EU by other FDI partners (and vice-versa) were limited, never exceeding a €10 billion threshold on each side.

Table of FDI flowa by major partner 2017-2018

The quarterly FDI assets and liabilities, from which annualised FDI flows are derived, can be found in Eurostat table bop_eu6_q.

Note: The FDI figures presented here are estimates based on the latest quarterly data transmission by the EU Member States, from which the annualised assets and liabilities have been allocated according to the directional principle (outward or inward). The 2018 detailed and revised annual FDI data will be published by Eurostat in December 2019.


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