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Investment

Australian investment abroad 2013 (a)

($ million)

Rank (b) Country Level of direct
investment
abroad
Total Australian
investment
abroad (c)
1 United States 121,691 471,672
2 United Kingdom 50,558 255,672
3 New Zealand 45,871 81,138
4 Germany 12,249 56,518
5 Canada 28,814 53,716
6 Japan 477 50,225
7 Switzerland np 38,301
8 Singapore 8,951 35,409
9 France 1,087 33,931
10 Netherlands 7,018 33,461
Total all countries 494,844 1,632,201
of which: APEC 259,156 834,981
ASEAN10 28,240 69,373
EU28 73,478 455,752
OECD 294,038 1,153,154

(a) Australian investment abroad: level of investment (stocks) as at 31 December 2013, by selected country and country group.
(b) Ranked on total Australian investment abroad.
(c) Includes portfolio investment.
Source: ABS catalogue 5352.0.

Foreign investment in Australia 2013 (a)

($ million)

Rank (b) Country Level of direct
investment
in Australia
Level of total
investment
in Australia (c)
1 United States 149,479 657,888
2 United Kingdom 86,663 562,881
3 Japan 63,257 130,982
4 Singapore 25,177 60,544
5 Hong Kong (SAR of China) 7,378 51,337
6 Switzerland 19,096 47,145
7 Netherlands 29,371 36,965
8 China 20,832 31,899
9 New Zealand 5,068 30,124
10 Canada 16,576 26,882
Total all countries 629,941 2,461,998
of which: APEC 301,528 1,041,280
ASEAN10 37,505 85,842
EU28 156,110 716,032
OECD 411,453 1,609,031

(a) Foreign investment in Australia: level of investment (stocks) as at 31 December 2013, by selected country and country group.
(b) Ranked on level of total investment in Australia.
(c) Includes portfolio investment.
Source: ABS catalogue 5352.0.

Australia has traditionally drawn international capital to supplement our domestic savings. This investment has allowed Australians to enjoy higher rates of economic growth, employment and living standards than could have been achieved from domestic savings alone. Australia accesses foreign capital through either foreign investment (equity) or borrowing (debt). Foreign direct investment (FDI) is one form of foreign equity investment.

The ways in which FDI benefits Australia are that it:

  • creates new employment opportunities – foreign companies setting up subsidiaries and creating new businesses in Australia create jobs and build economic growth;
  • allows access to new technologies – foreign companies often transfer technology to Australia when they invest, making us more internationally competitive;
  • provides revenue to the government – profits of foreign-owned companies are taxed, spreading the benefits of these investments to all Australians;
  • helps drive productivity growth – it increases the level of competition in the market.

A number of studies have examined the impact of foreign investment. In 2010 a study by Access Economics found that a 10 per cent increase in foreign investment in Australia would lead to a more than one per cent increase in GDP by 2020. An OECD study found that increasing foreign investment as a share of GDP is significantly and positively associated with productivity growth.

Last Updated: 2 February 2015
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