The U.S. net international investment position was –$4,416.2 billion (preliminary) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with –$4,663.4 billion at the end of the third quarter as the value of foreign investments in the United States exceeded the value of U.S. investments abroad.
• The $247.2 billion change in the net position reflected a $207.2 billion decrease in the value of foreign-owned assets in the United States and a $40.0 billion increase in the value of U.S.-owned assets abroad.
• U.S.-owned assets abroad were $20,760.1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $20,720.2 billion at the end of the third quarter.
• Foreign-owned assets in the United States were $25,176.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $25,383.6 billion at the end of the third quarter.
For more on U.S. Net International Investment Position, read the full report.
A more up-to-date picture of the value of what the United States owns abroad compared to what foreign investors own in this country will debut March 26 when the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases its first quarterly estimates of the U.S. international investment position. That release will feature statistics for the end of 2012 as well as quarterly data back to the fourth quarter of 2005.
The new quarterly reports (read more here) will provide more frequent and timelier statistics about the size and composition of the U.S. international investment position. This in turn will help shed light on new market developments and major economic trends as well as allow economists to monitor more closely the United States’ position as a net debtor and better gauge U.S. vulnerability to external financial shocks. The quarterly reports will also bring the United States in line with new guidelines issued by the International Monetary Fund for more frequent data on cross-border linkages following the 2008 financial crisis.
Previously BEA has issued a report each summer that provides detailed information on the U.S. international investment position for the previous year. Last year BEA reported that for 2011 U.S. assets in foreign countries totaled $21.13 trillion while foreign-owned assets here were $25.16 trillion. The difference between the two figures equaled the U.S. net international investment position for 2011 of negative $4.03 trillion.
The international investment position accounts (read more here) complement the international transaction accounts (read more here and here). When used in combination, the two sets of accounts provide a complete statistical picture of the international sector of the U.S. economy.
You can find the latest annual international investment position release here or see a template of what the new quarterly release will look like here. You can also sign up to receive the new quarterly releases by email subscription service.
Real Tourism Spending. Real spending on “traveler accommodations” accelerated, increasing 9.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 after increasing 5.3 percent in the third quarter. Real spending on “food services and drinking places” also accelerated, increasing 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter after increasing 0.6 percent in the third quarter.
Quarterly Growth in Real Tourism Spending
Tourism Prices. Prices for “passenger air transportation” turned up, increasing 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 11.5 percent in the third quarter. Prices for “traveler accommodations” decreased 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter after decreasing 8.2 percent in the third quarter.
Quarterly Growth in Tourism Prices
Tourism Employment. Employment in the travel and tourism industries decelerated in the fourth quarter, increasing 0.4 percent after increasing 1.3 percent in the third quarter. The deceleration was more than accounted for by a downturn in “food services and drinking places.
Quarterly Growth in Tourism Employment
You can learn more about travel and tourism spending here.