Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2012
 
   
G. Economy
 
G.6. International financing

National economies are increasingly interconnected through the operations of multinational companies, cross-border financing and migration flows. In the Yearbook, three topics on national and regional macroeconomic trends focus on economic growth, fiscal balance and monetary measures, while the present topic sheds light on some economic interactions among countries in the Asian and Pacific region, and between these countries and the rest of the world. These economic interactions are described in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI), official development assistance (ODA), remittances and debt repayments.

FDI inflows to the Asian and Pacific region fell in 2012 after two years of robust growth. However, the region increased its share of global inflows from 33.4 per cent in 2011 to 37.5 per cent in 2012. FDI outflows from the region accounted for 33.7 per cent of global outflows in 2012. South-East Asia was the only subregion to experience growth in FDI inflows in 2012.

Both FDI inflows to and outflows from the Asian and Pacific region dipped considerably in 2009 following the global financial crisis. In 2010 and 2011 inflows rebounded, but, in 2012, the trend took a turn as inflows dropped by over 8 per cent from $553 billion to $506 billion. The region has proven, however, to be resilient compared with other world regions. Asia and the Pacific increased its share of global FDI inflows from 33.4 per cent in 2011 to 37.5 per cent in 2012, clearly leaving behind Europe (21.4 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (18.1 per cent), North America (15.8 per cent) and Africa (3.7 per cent).

In 2012, outflows from the region fell by less than 1 per cent to $468 billion. The region accounts for 33.7 per cent of global outflows. Most FDI outflows originate from high-income or upper-middle-income economies, and outflows from low-income economies are virtually non-existent. Outflows from developed economies in the Asian and Pacific region continued to grow in 2012, which was contrary to the trend in North America and in Europe, where outflows fell by 14.2 per cent and 36.6 per cent, respectively.

Figure G.6-1
Foreign direct investment inflows by region, 1990-2012

Figure G.6-1 Foreign direct investment inflows by region, 1990-2012The Asian and Pacific subregions contribute quite unevenly to FDI flows to and from the region. East and North-East Asia continues to be the most attractive for FDI; the bulk of the FDI inflows (42.1 per cent) went to this subregion, which also accounts for most of the FDI outflows (close to 70 per cent). Japan plays a very limited role in attracting FDI inflows; however, it is a major source of FDI outflows. Without Japan, the share of FDI outflows from the subregion is reduced to 43.0 per cent.

South-East Asia attracts 22.0 per cent of total inflows to Asia and the Pacific, which is the second most in the region. In 2012, South-East Asia was the only subregion to witness growth in FDI inflows (2.1 per cent). The growth in inflows has been mainly driven by Cambodia (72.7 per cent), the Philippines (54.0 per cent), Viet Nam (12.6 per cent) and Thailand (10.7 per cent). FDI outflows from the subregion witnessed robust yearly growth of over 20 per cent in 2009-2011, following a drop of 45.9 per cent during the global financial crisis. In 2012, growth in outflows fell to 2.8 per cent. Nevertheless, outflows from the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam increased in 2012.

North and Central Asia, and South and South- West Asia account for 14.6 per cent and 9.1 per cent of FDI inflows, respectively. The former is also an important source of FDI outflows, as the Russian Federation accounted for 10.9 per cent of total outflows from the region in 2012. Inflows to the Pacific subregion amounted to 12.2 per cent of total inflows to the region; however, this is mainly due to the influence of Australia and New Zealand. Excluding the developed economies, the Pacific’s share remained under 0.5 per cent.

Figure G.6-2
Foreign direct investment inflows to and outflows from the Asian and Pacific region, 1990-2012

Figure G.6-2 Foreign direct investment inflows to and outflows from the Asian and Pacific region, 1990-2012In 2012, FDI inflows as a share of GDP remained at 2.0 per cent for the region, although there were large variations between countries. Small dynamic economics such as Mongolia (46.3 per cent), Hong Kong, China (30.2 per cent), Singapore (21.5 per cent) and Marshall Islands (19.9 per cent), tend to have higher shares. FDI inflows as a percentage of GDP in developing economies fell slightly from 2.9 per cent in 2011 to 2.5 per cent in 2012, mainly due to the large influence of India, where the share dropped from 1.9 per cent in 2011 to 1.3 per cent in 2012. FDI outflows as a share of GDP for the region has remained fairly stagnant, dropping by only 0.1 percentage points to 1.9 per cent in 2012.

Five economies — China, Hong Kong, China, India, the Russian Federation and Singapore — continue to dominate as destinations for FDI inflows. They also play an important role as sources of FDI. ASEAN countries are showing signs of becoming increasingly important as both destinations and sources of FDI.

Close to 65 per cent of all FDI inflows to the region go to China, Hong Kong, China, India, the Russian Federation and Singapore. In 2012, the largest recipient was China, with a share of 23.9 per cent, followed by Hong Kong, China, with 14.7 per cent, Singapore with 11.2 per cent, the Russian Federation with 10.2 per cent and India with 5.0 per cent.

In 2012, China and Hong Kong, China experienced a drop in the growth of inflows. In Singapore, FDI inflows continued to grow, but at a low 1.3 per cent rate. After two years of negative growth, India was able to shift into positive territory in 2011; however, in 2012, FDI inflows dropped again by almost 30 per cent. In the Russian Federation, the decrease in FDI inflows was more moderate (6.7 per cent).

These five economies are also important sources of outflows from their respective subregions. Excluding Japan, in East and North-East Asia, China and Hong Kong, China, together account for 83.5 per cent of remaining outflows. In South-East Asia, a large share of FDI outflows originates from Singapore, with 38.1 per cent of total outflows from the subregion. In South and South-West Asia, India still dominates as a source of outflows, with a share of over 64.6 per cent, although this share decreased from 81.4 per cent the previous year. This is due to the fact that other countries in the subregion, such as Turkey, have increased their FDI outflows. In North and Central Asia, the Russian Federation continues to account for over 90 per cent of total FDI outflows from the subregion.

Figure G.6-3
Foreign direct investment outflows from Asia and the Pacific, 2012

Figure G.6-3 Foreign direct investment outflows from Asia and the Pacific, 2012Apart from these so-called “FDI giants”, there are a number of countries, especially ASEAN countries, that are showing signs of becoming more attractive to FDI. As mentioned above, South-East Asia was the only subregion to attract increased flows in FDI in 2012. Low-income economies, such as Cambodia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, in particular, attracted higher levels of FDI. This development was mainly driven by increased labour-intensive FDI and value chain activities. In addition, Thailand rebounded in 2012 as FDI inflows grew by 10.7 per cent after a decline in 2011 due to widespread flooding. ASEAN countries are also becoming increasingly important as suppliers of FDI. They now account for 12.9 per cent of total outflows from the region. Outflows from the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam grew significantly in 2012. Despite this growth, most outflows still originate from Singapore and Malaysia, which account for 38.1 per cent and 28.2 per cent, respectively, of outflows from the subregion.

High-income and upper-middle-income economies in Asia and the Pacific attract by far the largest amounts of FDI inflows. Developed economies account for a large share of FDI outflows from the region.

Together, high-income and upper-middle-income economies accounted for 85.8 per cent of total FDI inflows to the region in 2012. However, low-income economies have shown resilience in recent years. After the global financial crisis, FDI inflows to low-income economies rebounded quickly and grew by 48.8 per cent in 2010 and by 37.4 per cent in 2011. Whereas inflows to lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income and high-income economies declined in 2012, those to low-income economies grew by 10.4 per cent.

The majority of FDI outflows originate from high-income and upper-middle-income economies, which together provide 96.1 per cent of total outflows from the region. Of the total share of FDI outflows from the region in 2012, the shares of Australia, Japan and New Zealand together accounted for 29.5 per cent.

Least developed countries accounted for 1.1 per cent and landlocked developing countries for 5.2 per cent of total FDI inflows to the Asian and Pacific region. FDI inflows to least developed countries continued to grow in 2012, although those to landlocked developing countries dropped slightly.

FDI inflows to least developed countries in the region grew by close to 10 per cent in 2012, reaching a new peak of almost $5.5 billion. This increase in inflows was driven mostly by increased FDI in the largest recipient countries among least developed countries, namely Cambodia and Myanmar. FDI inflows to landlocked developing countries in the region remained at a high level of $26.4 billion, although they fell somewhat from the previous year. For countries that are not endowed with resources or are situated in remote areas, it becomes even more crucial to ensure that the investment climate is attractive to investors. Currently, most least developed countries rank low in the World Bank’s Doing Business report, with Samoa having the best rank at 571 Unsurprisingly, many of the countries ranked lowest fall into both categories: least developed countries and landlocked developing countries. Both least developed countries and landlocked developing countries continue to account for less than 1 per cent of total outflows from the region.

Box G.6-1
Impact of round-tripping on foreign direct investment statistics

Round-tripping refers to the phenomenon whereby investment capital is moved abroad and then invested back into the home country in order to avoid regulatory restrictions, to benefit from incentives awarded to foreign investors or to take advantage of tax benefits. Examples of round-tripping can be found, for example, between China and Hong Kong, China, between the Russian Federation and Cyprus, and between India and Mauritius. In some cases, round-tripping can account for a significant share of FDI flows. According to estimates, 25 to 50 per cent of FDI inflows to China can be attributed to round-tripping. In the Russian Federation, over 50 per cent of FDI inflows originate in financial hubs such as Cyprus, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands, as well as the Netherlands and Ireland. Indian firms looking to invest abroad often set up holding companies in financial centres such as Mauritius, through which funds are then invested in a third country. Based on the significant role Mauritius plays as a source of FDI inflows to India, it is likely that capital funds invested in Mauritius by Indian companies are mostly channelled back to India. Round-tripping poses a problem for the interpretation of FDI statistics as it inflates FDI flows and can present a distorted view of the sources of FDI. It is extremely difficult, however, to estimate the extent of round-tripping as investors rarely report the activity to the authorities. Nevertheless, being aware of the prevalence and reasons behind roundtripping may help to interpret FDI statistics more accurately.

Sources: India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “Fact sheet on foreign direct investment (FDI)” (March 2013). Available from http://dipp.nic.in/English/Publications/FDI_Statistics/2013/india_FDI_March2013.pdf; Harun R. Khan, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, “Outward Indian FDI: recent trends and emerging issues”, address delivered at the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mumbai, 2 March 2012. Available from www.rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_speechesView.aspx?Id=674; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2013: Global Value Chains – Investment and Trade for Development (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.13.II.D.5); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report 2003: FDI Policies for Development – National and International Perspective (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.03.II.D.8); and Geng Xiao, “Round-tripping foreign direct investment and the People’s Republic of China”, ADB Institute Discussion Paper, No. 7 (Tokyo, 2004).

ODA declined overall in the Asian and Pacific region in 2011, but there are considerable differences in ODA flows at the subregional level with least developed countries recording a modest increase in ODA in 2011.

ODA is the component of development financing most affected by the global recession of 2008/09. A total of 16 out of 23 member countries of the Development Assistance Committee reduced their aid contributions in 2011, primarily due to the effects of the global recession. The challenging global outlook has had particularly important effects on least developed countries. Total ODA flows to developing economies in the region dropped by 4.2 per cent between 2010 and 2011, which meant a decrease from $28.2 billion to $27.0 billion. This translated into ODA as a percentage of GDP dropping from 0.25 per cent in 2010 to 0.21 per cent in 2011. Over 40 per cent of the countries in the region experienced a decrease in ODA between 2010 and 2011.

Figure G.6-4
Official development assistance received by region, Asia and the Pacific, 2010-2011

Figure G.6-4 Official development assistance received by region, Asia and the Pacific, 2010-2011At the subregional level, ODA flows vary significantly. For example, in 2011, South and South-West Asia received about $17.6 billion, while South-East Asia received $5.5 billion and Central Asia received $2.6 billion. In 2011, ODA received by developing economies declined sharply in East and North-East Asia and in South-East Asia, while it increased modestly in South and South-West Asia and in Central Asia.

Figure G.6-5
Ten largest recipients in official development assistance, Asia and the Pacific, 2010-2011

Figure G.6-5 Ten largest recipients in official development assistance, Asia and the Pacific, 2010-2011Least developed countries in the region received about $11.7 billion in 2011, recording an increase of 4.5 per cent from 2010. A detailed analysis of the statistical information at the country level reveals that Afghanistan received over $6.7 billion, which was about 25 per cent of the total ODA inflows to developing economies in the region in 2011. Other countries such as India, Pakistan and Viet Nam also received over $3 billion each, while Bangladesh received about $1.5 billion. China, the Philippines and Thailand registered a net decline in ODA, while Indonesia experienced an overall fall in ODA value from 2010. Malaysia and Tuvalu recorded a net annual increase in ODA.

Remittances offer a complementary source of resilience for the Asian and Pacific region and are an important share of the total GDP of least developed countries. China and India received over half of the total remittances in the region in 2011.

The region’s ongoing recovery from the global economic crisis is also reflected in the rebound of migrant outflows and remittances. Contrary to trends in ODA, workers’ remittances to developing economies in the region increased from $125 billion in 2009 to $140 billion in 2010, or by 12.3 per cent.

At the subregional level, remittance flows vary markedly. For example, in 2011, developing economies in South and South-West Asia received about $82 billion, followed by East and North-East Asia with $26.5 billion, North and Central Asia with $6.3 billion, and the Pacific with $0.24 billion. In 2011, remittances received by developing economies increased in all subregions except the Pacific.

Least developed countries in the region received remittances of about $14.5 billion in 2011 compared with $13.6 billion in 2010. At the country level, India and China received remittances of about $73 billion in total, accounting for more than half of all remittance flows to the region. For many countries in Asia and the Pacific, the level of dependence on remittances, measured as a proportion of GDP, continues to be significant. For example, remittances to South and South-West Asia equalled about 3 per cent of the subregion’s GDP, followed by the Pacific at 0.8 per cent, North and Central Asia at 0.4 per cent, and East and North- East Asia at 0.2 per cent in 2010. The share of remittances of GDP was significantly higher in least developed countries at 10.3 per cent.

Figure G.6-6 Remittances as a percentage of GDP, Asia and the Pacific, 2010

Figure G.6-6 Remittances as a percentage of GDP, Asia and the Pacific, 2010In 2010, Tajikistan was the country whose remittances constituted the highest proportion of GDP (39.8 per cent), followed by Kyrgyzstan (26.4 per cent), Nepal and Samoa (each at 20.4 per cent), Bangladesh (10.9 per cent), Sri Lanka (at 8.3 per cent), the Philippines (8.1 per cent) and Pakistan (5.6 per cent).

By looking at the available statistical information at the country level since 2000, 32 out of 35 countries registered increases in remittances. Also, simple calculations of the variability (coefficient of variation) of remittances show a decline for the period 2000 to 2010. Therefore, for the past decade, remittances have been a relatively stable source of foreign exchange for many countries in the region.

In Asia and the Pacific, the balance of payments position has come under pressure due to substantial external debt repayments since 2008. However, least developed countries have still had a relatively higher debt service ratio.

There was a significant overall increase in the total amount of net external debt in the region during the period 2000-2010. For example, the amount of total net external debt rose in North and Central Asia from $175 billion in 2000 to $712 billion in 2010, and in South-East Asia from $348 billion in 2000 to $540 billion in 2010. In least developed countries, net external debt increased from $30 billion in 2000 to $54 billion in 2010. In total, for developing economies in the region, there was an increase from $959 billion in 2010 to $2.73 trillion in 2010.

Figure G.6-7
Index of external debt as a proportion of GDP, developing economies in selected subregions, 2000-2011

Figure G.6-7 Index of external debt as a proportion of GDP, developing economies in selected subregions, 2000-2011By the same token, between 2000 and 2008, the net external debt to GDP ratio declined steadily in all Asian and Pacific subregions. This was overturned, however, by the onset of the economic crisis, when the debt to GDP ratio increased in the region as a whole. In the aftermath of the crisis, this ratio subsequently declined in all subregions with the exception of the Pacific (excluding high-income economies). Substantial external debt repayments coupled with declining financial inflows have brought the balance of payments position under pressure, especially in Pacific island developing economies.

Figure G.6-8
Debt service ratio, Asia and the Pacific, 2000- 2010

Figure G.6-8 Debt service ratio, Asia and the Pacific, 2000- 2010General trends in external debt services paid by countries in the region show a decline in debt servicing over the last two decades. Between 2000 and 2010, the ratio of debt services to exports of goods, services and regional income received from abroad had declined in 17 countries out of the 29 countries for which data were available. For example, between 2000 and 2010, the ratio declined by 14.1 percentage points in India and by 10.5 percentage points in Turkey, while it increased by 3.8 percentage points in the Philippines. However, external debt service payments were still high in 2010 in least developed countries in the region; for example, the ratio was 10 per cent in Nepal, 5.9 per cent in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and 5.4 per cent in Bangladesh.

Further reading

Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN Investment Report 2011. Available from www.asean.org/resources/item/asean-investment-report-2011.

ESCAP. Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2012: Recent Trends and Developments United Nations, 2012. Available from www.unescap.org/tid/ti_report2012/home.asp.

International Fund for Agricultural Development. Global Forum on Remittances 2013. Session Documents, Bangkok, 20-23 May. Available from www.ifad.org/remittances/events/2013/globalforum.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Maximizing the Development Impact of Remittances. New York and Geneva: United Nations, 2013. Available from http://unctad.org/en/Docs/ditctncd2011d8_en.pdf.

–––––––. World Investment Report 2013. United Nations publication, Sales No. E.13.II.D.5. Available from http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2013_en.pdf.

United Nations. Strengthening the global partnership for development in a time of crisis: where are the gaps?, Fact sheet. September 2009. Available from www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/fact_%20sheet_where_are_the_gaps.pdf.

World Bank. Investing Across Borders 2010: Indicators of Foreign Direct Investment Regulation in 87 Economies. Washington, DC, 2010. Available from http://iab.worldbank.org/.

Technical notes

Foreign direct investment (FDI) defined
FDI includes the three components of equity capital, reinvested earnings and intracompany loans. Equity capital is the foreign direct investor’s purchase of shares of an enterprise in a country other than that of its residence. Reinvested earnings comprise the direct investor’s share (in proportion to direct equity participation) of earnings not distributed as dividends by affiliates or earnings not remitted to the direct investor. Such retained profits by affiliates are reinvested. Intracompany loans or intracompany debt transactions refer to short- or long-term borrowing and lending of funds between direct investors (parent enterprises) and affiliate enterprises. Ownership or control of less than 10 per cent of a business is not considered to be FDI.

FDI inward and outward stock (million United States dollars, percentage of GDP)
Represents the value of the share of capital and reserves (including retained profits) attributable to the parent enterprise, plus the net indebtedness of affiliates to the parent enterprise. Inward stock: The value of the capital and reserves in the economy attributable to a parent enterprise resident in a different economy. Outward stock: The value of capital and reserves in another economy attributable to a parent enterprise resident in the economy. Indicator calculations: Percentage of GDP figures are based on GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values (million United States dollars); weighted averages using GDP in United States dollars as weight (percentage of GDP). Missing data are not imputed.

FDI inflows and outflows (million United States dollars, percentage of GDP)
Capital provided (directly or through other related enterprises) by a foreign direct investor to an enterprise, or capital received by a foreign direct investor from an enterprise. FDI inflows: Capital provided (directly or through other related enterprises) by a foreign direct investor to an enterprise in the reporting economy. FDI outflows: Capital received by a foreign direct investor from entities resident in the reporting economy. Indicator calculations: Percentage of GDP figures are based on GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values (million United States dollars); weighted averages using GDP in United States dollars as weight (percentage of GDP). Missing data are not imputed.

ODA received (million United States dollars, percentage of GDP, percentage change per annum)
ODA received in grants and loans during the reporting period, expressed in million United States dollars, as a percentage of GDP, and in percentage change. Indicator calculations: Percentage of GDP figures are based on GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values (million United States dollars); average annual rate of change of the regional sums (percentage change per annum). Missing data are not imputed.

Workers’ remittances received (million United States dollars, percentage of GDP)
Current transfers from abroad are money transferred by migrants who are employed (or intend to remain employed) for more than one year in an economy (in which they are considered residents) to persons (typically family) in the home country of the migrant. Indicator calculations: Percentage of GDP figures are based on GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values. Missing data are not imputed.

Debt service (percentage of exports of goods, services and income from abroad)
Debt service refers to the sum of interest payment and repayment of principal on international debt, divided by exports of goods and services and income from abroad.

Net external debt (million United States dollars, percentage of GDP)
The outstanding net amount of those current, and not contingent, liabilities owed to nonresidents by residents of an economy that require payments either of principal and/or interest by the debtor at some point in the future. Residents comprise the general government, individuals, private non-profit bodies and enterprises. Indicator calculations: Percentage of GDP figures are based on GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values (million United States dollars); weighted averages using GDP in United States dollars as weight (percentage of GDP). Missing data are not imputed.

Sources

Source of FDI data: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI Statistics (online database, available from http:// unctadstat.unctad.org/ReportFolders/report Folders.aspx). UNCTAD collects data through national compilers (such as central banks, various ministries and statistical offices). Data sources of FDI are complemented by corporate reports and information from the press. In the absence of primary sources, UNCTAD uses data from regional and international organizations and research institutions. Data are continually updated, depending on availability and resources. Data obtained: 31 July 2013.

Source of ODA data: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Database on Aid from Development Assistance Committee Members. The Development Assistance Committee publishes statistics and reports on aid and other resource flows to developing economies, based principally on reporting by Development Assistance Committee members, multilateral organizations and other donors. Data obtained: 10 January 2013.

Source of workers’ remittances data: International Monetary Fund (IMF), Balance of Payments Statistics (CD-ROM, May 2012). IMF balance of payments data are presented in accordance with the standard components of the Balance of Payments Manual, 5th ed. (BPM5; available from www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/ bopman/bopman.pdf ). IMF data conversion work has made possible the presentation in the BPM5 format of both historical data and more recent statistics reported by member countries. All balance of payments data are expressed in United States dollars. The database includes IMF country reports with data in national currencies or standard daily rates in addition to the dollar equivalents. IMF provides estimates in place of missing data. The estimation procedure relies largely on the World Economic Outlook Database. Data obtained: 24 August 2012.

Source of debt service data: Millennium Indicators Database, sourced from the World Bank. The World Bank bases its estimates of country-level data on data produced and provided by countries. Adjustments are made to some data for international comparability and compliance with internationally agreed standards, definitions and classifications. Data obtained: 13 July 2012.

Source of net external debt data: WDI. The World Bank compiles country-level debt data. Data obtained: 21 February 2013.

____________________
1 The World Bank’s publication Doing Business 2013 ranks 185 countries on the basis of ease of doing business. A higher number indicates a lower rank and lower performance. Some of the lowest ranked countries are Afghanistan (168), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (163) and Bhutan (148), which are all both landlocked developing countries and least developed countries. See World Bank, Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises (Washington, DC, 2013). Available from www.doingbusiness.org/.
 
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