Investment statistics and trends

UNCTAD addresses countries’ data needs through its analysis and dissemination of foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics, and by enhancing the capacity of government agencies to collect and report FDI and TNC data.

The organization maintains the largest global databases on FDI and TNC activities, containing information on more than 200 economies covering a period of 40 years, and has acquired a reputation as the most authoritative international source on FDI/TNC data.

The system also comprises other analytical and statistical tools, including the bilateral FDI database on flows and stocks, and the FDI Country Profiles and Country Fact Sheets (available for 188 economies) that feature the latest data on mergers and acquisitions, largest TNCs, and regulatory changes.

Global Investment Trends Monitor

Global Investment Trends MonitorThe monitor provides the international community with up-to-date data and analysis on trends and emerging issues relating to FDI and the activities of multinational enterprises.

In order to present the global investment trends clearly, and with a view to meeting user requirements, UNCTAD developed a Global FDI Quarterly Index. This index is based on quarterly data of FDI inflows for 67 countries and economies, which together account for roughly 90 per cent of global FDI flows.


Statistics for FDI and the operations of TNCs

Statistics for FDI and the Operation of TNCsThis training manual aims to assist developing countries to compile timely, accurate and internationally comparable statistics on foreign direct investment and on the operations of transnational corporations.

The overall objective is to promote a better understanding of the FDI situation in their respective economies and to assist policymakers in formulating development-oriented FDI policies.


Bilateral FDI statistics


Bilateral FDI StatisticsReaders are encouraged to use the data in this publication for non-commercial purposes, provided acknowledgement is explicitly given to UNCTAD, together with the reference to this publication.

Sound FDI data is an essential tool for research and policy analysis, and a basis for policy formulation, implementation and assessment. In fact, the scarcity, unreliability and inconsistency of FDI data pose a serious challenge for policy-makers, academics and practitioners. The current publication is a major effort by UNCTAD to fill an important gap in FDI statistics.

UNCTAD's Bilateral FDI Statistics provides up-to-date and systematic FDI data for 206 economies around the world, covering inflows (table 1), outflows (table 2), inward stock (table 3) and outward stock (table 4) by region and economy. Data are in principle collected from national sources. In order to cover the entire world, where data are not available from national sources, data from partner countries (mirror data) as well as from other international organizations have also been used.

This publication will be updated every year, and will be complemented with sectoral/industrial FDI statistics that will be published separately. It is hoped that this FDI data series will become a standard reference for policymakers as well as for academia, the private sector and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.

To review and present internationally comparable national data on FDI, it is essential to harmonize country statistics in accordance with internationally accepted definitions at all levels: national, regional and global. To complement efforts in publishing global FDI statistics, UNCTAD also provides technical assistance to support national efforts in providing reliable and comparable FDI data.

This publication has been prepared by a team led by Astrit Sulstarova under the supervision of Masataka Fujita. The other members of the team were Bradley Boicourt and Lizanne Martinez. Statistical assistance was provided by Yana Trofimova. Many officials in central banks, statistical offices, investment promotion agencies and other government offices in many countries around the world contributed to the publication through the provision of data.

Readers are encouraged to use the data in this publication for non-commercial purposes, provided acknowledgement is explicitly given to UNCTAD, together with the reference to this publication.

James Zhan
Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise
(April 2014)


The terms country/economy as used in these documents also refer, as appropriate, to territories or areas; the designations employed and the presentation of the material do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. In addition, the designations of country groups are intended solely for statistical or analytical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgment about the stage of development reached by a particular country or area in the development process. The major country groupings used in this publication follow the classification of the United Nations Statistical Office.  These are:

Developed countries: the member countries of the OECD (other than Chile, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Turkey), plus the new European Union member countries which are not OECD members (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Romania), plus Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino.

Transition economies: South-East Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia.

Developing economies: in general all economies not specified above. For statistical purposes, the data for China do not include those for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Province of China.

The following symbols have been used in the tables:

  • Two dots (..) indicate that data are not available or are not separately reported. Rows in tables have been omitted in those cases where no data are available for any of the elements in the row;
  • A dash (-) indicates that the item is equal to zero or its value is negligible;
  • A blank in a table indicates that the item is not applicable, unless otherwise indicated;
  • A slash (/) between dates representing years, e.g., 1994/95, indicates a financial year; and
  • Use of an en dash (-) between dates representing years, e.g., 1994-1995, signifies the full period involved, including the beginning and end years.

Details in tables do not necessarily add up to totals because of rounding.


Copyright United Nations, 2014.

Readers are encouraged to use the data in this publication for non-commercial purposes, provided acknowledgement is explicitly given to UNCTAD, together with the reference to this publication.

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