DP17656 Bilateral International Investments: The Big Sur?
Using country-to-country data, this paper documents a set of novel stylized facts about the rise of the South in global finance. The paper assembles comprehensive bilateral data on cross-border bank loans and deposits, portfolio investment in debt and equity, foreign direct investment, and international reserves. The main findings are that investments involving the South, and especially within the South, have grown faster than those within the North between 2001 and 2018. By 2018, the South was involved in 34% of total international investments. The largest increases occurred in portfolio investment and international reserves, the smallest in banking. These trends are observed across South regions, are not driven by China, and are reinforced when taking offshore finance into account. South-to-South investments tended to grow the fastest, even after controlling for regional GDP growth. The extensive margin increased significantly within the South, accounting for a sizable share of international investments by 2018