Foreign direct investment
Updated: 20 January 2023
Next update: Not yet determined
More figures from this statistics
- 11323: Direct Investments, by income and industry (SIC2007) (NOK million)
- 11324: Direct Investments, by income and country (NOK million)
- 11325: Direct investments, by positions and industry (SIC2007) (NOK million)
- 11326: Direct investments, by positions and country (NOK million)
- 12754: Foreign direct investments in Norway, by positions and ultimate investor country (NOK million)
About the statistics
The statistic gives an overview of foreign direct investment (FDI) to and from Norway. You will find stocks, income and transactions compiled in accordance with international guidelines. The statistic is specified through shares and other equity, debt instruments, income on debt, distributed earnings and reinvested earnings.
Foreign Direct Investment
A foreign direct investment is an investment in enterprises across country borders where the investing enterprise plans to establish a long-term economic connection and exercise effective influence on the operation in a foreign enterprise. This definition is in line with international guidelines in this area.
We often call the investing enterprise the investor.
Since our data collection is based on accounts information, we apply a 20 per cent ownership threshold for distinguishing between direct investments and portfolio investments. International statistics recommendations give a 10 per cent ownership threshold.
A foreign direct investment includes:
- the investor’s share of contributions and acquired equity in the foreign enterprise they invested in as well as the investor’s assets and liabilities from and to the investment enterprise
- other asset and liability relations between enterprises in the same enterprise group, e.g. loans between a Norwegian enterprise and a foreign fellow enterprise
Fellow enterprises are enterprises that are directly or indirectly controlled or influenced by the same enterprise in the ownership hierarchy, but neither fellow enterprise controls or influences the other.
Investments between fellow enterprises can include investments in assets, debt instruments and income, e.g. dividends and interest.
The directional principle: Inward and outward investments
We calculate the foreign direct investment statistic according to the directional principle and the revised directional principle.
The directional principle
The directional principle is a presentation of direct investment data organized according to the direction of the direct investment relationship, i.e. financial assets and liabilities between the investor and the investment enterprise are netted. This means that:
- an inward foreign direct investment is the foreign investor’s investment in a Norwegian enterprise, minus any investment from the Norwegian enterprise in the foreign enterprise. We call this foreign direct investment in Norway
- an outward foreign direct investment is the Norwegian enterprise’s investment in a foreign enterprise, minus any investment from the foreign enterprise in the Norwegian enterprise. We call this Norwegian foreign direct investment
The revised directional principle
The revised directional principle relates to the treatment of investments between fellow enterprises.
The principle is only partly applied in the foreign direct investment statistic as we only cover debt instruments between fellow enterprises.
Distribution of income from foreign direct investment
We distribute the income on the foreign direct investment statistic on the following:
- distributed earnings (dividends)
- income in debt
- reinvested earnings
Reinvested earnings comprise of the share of earnings that is not paid out to investors as dividend but instead withheld in the direct investment enterprise. This is regarded as income from a foreign direct investment.
We also regard reinvested earnings as a transaction in equity from the investor to the direct investment enterprise in line with international standards.
Reinvested earnings represent an income in the balance of payments and retained earnings in the financial accounts.
Net income on debt
Income on debt minus interest expense.
Other changes consist of exchange rate revaluations and other market and price related revaluations.
A revaluation is a new assessment of the value of assets and liabilities when prices and exchange rates have changed. It is thus a new valuation that comes without the enterprises having made any new transactions.
The exchange rate revaluations are calculated while other types of revaluations are taken from the data collection.
Ultimate investor country
The ultimate investor country is the country where the “last” enterprise or person in the ownership chain is registered or has registered address. That is, the enterprise that is not controlled by another enterprise or the last person in the ownership chain.
The asset/liability principle records all foreign direct investment claims on and obligations to non-residents using the normal balance sheet, and the stocks and income are presented as gross assets and liabilities. I.e. the direction of the investment does not affect whether it is recorded as assets or liabilities.
The industry classification is from the reference year 2010 in line with the revised Norwegian Standard industrial classification (SN07), which is based on the EU’s industry standard NACE Rev. 2. Prior to the reference year 2010, the industry classification was based on Norwegian Standard industrial classification (SN94), which is based on the EU’s industry standard NACE Rev 1.
The transition to a new industrial classification (SN07) has little significance for the industry breakdown in the foreign direct investment statistic. This is because the statistic is aggregated to a relatively high level.
Limited companies with operations in several industries are, in principle, classified according to the operation that makes the largest contribution to the company’s total value added. You can find further details on SN07 in the publication NOS Standard industrial classification (C 182) and on Statistics Norway’s website at Standard Industrial Classification.
Name: Foreign direct investment
Topic: External economy
Division for Financial Accounts
Statistics Norway reports the statistic to the following international organisations:
- Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat)
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- The United Nations (UN), i.e. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Statistics Norway files collected and revised microdata in accordance with our standard for filing instructions (DataDok). We file microdata for the same periods as we publish on our web page. The microdata is also available for research purposes in accordance with our rules for lending microdata.
The main purpose of the statistic is to provide actual and reliable data for the Norwegian foreign direct investments abroad and foreign direct investments in Norway, for the benefit of national and international user.
The statistic is used for political and analytical purposes, among other things related to questions about ownership and control in the economy.
Statistics Norway has compiled the foreign direct investment statistic since 2006, based on data from a sample of enterprises in Norway. Before 2006, the statistic was compiled by Norges Bank, based on data collected from the Norwegian Tax Administration.
In the Statbank you will find:
- Stocks back to 1998
- Income back to 2004
- Transactions from 1993 to 2010 and from 2019
The main users are the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The statistics is also used by other national and international users, e.g. the Norwegian authorities, embassies, educational establishments and research institutions.
We publish the statistic simultaneously for all users at 8 am on ssb.no. Prior to this, a minimum of three months’ notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. No external user has access to the statistic before this.
Previously, the foreign direct investment statistical series has been in coherence with the foreign direct investments under the Balance of Payments in the sense that we used the directional principle as the basis for the compilation of all foreign direct investment figures.
After the implementation of the revised international manuals, IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6) and OECD’s Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment number 4 (BMD4), the foreign direct investment figures in the different statistics go separate ways. The difference is:
- foreign direct investment in the Balance of Payments is now compiled according to the Asset/Liability Principle, which means that the investments are grossed
- the foreign direct investment statistic is compiled according to the directional principle, which means that the investments are netted
International guidance has also expanded the directional principle with several revisions. In addition to the netting of investments, investments between fellow enterprises are being classified as inward or outward dependent on the enterprise’s ultimate investor country. This revised directional principle is valid from 2013.
The foreign direct investment statistic has additionally further specifications compared to the foreign direct investments in the Balance of Payments, broken down by:
- investments in shares and other equity
- investments in debt instruments
- income on debt
- distributed earnings (dividends)
- reinvested earnings
- country (ultimate investor country and immediate counterpart country)
Statistics Norway’s data collection from the reporters is based on the Statistics Act § 10
Through the EAA agreement, Norway is obliged to compile direct investment statistics in line with European Parliament and Council regulation No. 184/2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment, which entered into force on the 11th of June 2005. It has since been amended by Regulations Nos 707/2009 and 555/2017.
OECD and IMF guidelines:
The statistics are compiled in line with recommendations by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) fourth edition of the manual for statistics on foreign direct investment (OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment number 4, BMD4). The OECD has coordinated its manual with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) manual on balance of payments and international investment positions (IMF Balance of Payments Manual, BPM6).
The statistic on foreign direct investments abroad cover, in principle, all Norwegian institutional sectors. Non-financial enterprises in this context is the most important sector by a wide margin.
The statistic is not based on a full count, but on a sample of non-financial enterprises, across two sample surveys.
For licenced financial enterprises, Statistics Norway have total coverage. For other financial enterprises we use a sample of the largest enterprises. We gather data for the general government sector and for second homes from administrative sources.
The foreign direct investment statistic is presented as follows:
The foreign direct investment statistic is divided into stocks, income and transactions. Stocks and income are broken down by shares and other equity, debt instruments, distributed earnings, reinvested earnings and income on debt. Transactions are broken down by shares and other equity, debt instruments and reinvested earnings. The data are also broken down by country and industry.
Investments between fellow enterprises are calculated according to the revised directional principle from 2013, meaning that investment between fellow enterprises are classified according to where the ultimate investor belongs. Inwards foreign direct investments in Norway are also broken down by ultimate investor country from 2018, and the data is presented in a supplementary table.
Transactions data from 1993 to 2010 broken down by country and industry are found in closed time series in the Statbank, as well as transactions data broken down by country and industry from 2019.
The foreign direct investment statistic has two main data sources:
- The sample survey “Information on investments abroad”. In this survey Statistics Norway gathers data on dividends, results after taxes and equity in Norwegian affiliates and associated enterprises abroad.
- The sample survey “Balance of payments data reporting”. In this survey Statistics Norway gathers data shares and other equity, internal debt instruments in the enterprise groups and other financial balance sheet and result data like interests and dividend.
We calculate figures for Norwegian households' investments in second homes abroad and figures for foreign investments in second homes in Norway from several administrative sources.
Statistics Norway use information from annual reports, administrative registers, internet and media to map the population of enterprises with assets or liabilities abroad. The total population of enterprises with assets or liabilities abroad is unknown.
The sample survey “Information on investments abroad” is sent to the largest and most important enterprises with foreign direct investments in addition to a sample of small and medium sized enterprises. I.e. Norwegian enterprises with ownership from 20 per cent in an enterprise abroad are possible candidates for the sample.
The sample survey “Balance of payments data reporting” covers all big and medium sized enterprises with inwards or outwards direct investments.
Estimates on investments in second homes are made based on currency, tax and price information.
Collection of data:
- We gather data for non-financial enterprises and some financial enterprises from the two sample surveys “information on investments abroad” and “Balance of payments data reporting”.
- We gather data on licenced financial enterprises, i.e. banks, financial service enterprises, insurance enterprises and pension funds from the ORBOF, FORT and PORT reports.
- We gather data on enterprises’ results after taxes from the survey “Information on investments abroad” and the Income statements from the Norwegian Tax Administration.
- We gather data from the general government sector and for second homes from administrative sources.
Statistics Norway controls and edits collected data at enterprise level, at different aggregate levels and with help from time series analyses. We edit the last two years in normal publications. We compare the collected data largely with information from annual reports and income statements.
- We calculate total equity for foreign controlled enterprises in Norway based on data from the “Balance of payments data reporting” survey and for foreign enterprises owned from Norway based on data from the “Information on enterprises abroad” survey.
- If the investor, both outwards or inwards, only owns a part of the share capital we make a percentage calculation. If the investor owns 100 per cent the total equity, we just sum all the relevant equity items.
- We calculate reinvested earnings based on results after taxes that are collected from the “information on investments abroad” survey and income statements from the Norwegian Tax Administration. We then deduct dividends that are collected from the two surveys.
- We calculate transactions as change in stocks from one year to the next minus calculated and reported revaluations. Both sample surveys contains currency information that makes it possible for us to calculate exchange rate revaluations. We also collect other types of revaluations in the survey “Balance of payments data reporting”.
Statistics Norway's standard rules of confidentiality are applied.
There are new international guidelines for the compilation of foreign direct investments (in BMD4 and BPM6) valid from 2013. These are IMFs Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6) and OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment number 4 (BMD4).
One change that we saw had a significant impact on the statistic is the new treatment of investments between fellow enterprises, which was introduced with the revised directional principle. According to the revised directional principle, debt instruments between fellow enterprises are to be netted as inward or outward foreign direct investments, depending on where the ultimate investor is registered. This means that debt instruments that were previously classified as inward investments now largely gets classified as negative outward investments and vice versa.
Foreign direct investment abroad:
Statistics Norway publishes foreign direct investment stocks abroad back to 1998. From 1998 until 2006, the source was the Norwegian Tax Administration’s survey “Controlled transactions and accounts outstanding” (RF-1123). Statistics Norway has from 2006 conducted annual sample surveys.
Foreign direct investment in Norway:
The stocks for inward direct investment in Norway have had several sources and followed several principles through the years. The figures that we now publish on Statistics Norway’s web pages follows the current principles and definitions back to 1998, except for the new principle for classification of investments between fellow enterprises from 2013, as mentioned above.
Until 2004, transaction figures for direct investments were based data from Norges Bank. The data basis was the banks’ reporting of international transactions for customers (the Bravo reporting) and direct reports from the enterprises in the form of account relations with non-residents.
Statistics Norway got the responsibility for the foreign direct investment statistic from 2005. We gather figures for Norwegian foreign direct investment abroad from multiple sources, but the main source is the sample survey “Information on investments abroad”. We calculate the transactions as changes in the stocks from one year to the next, minus calculated and reported revaluations.
Break in the time series:
In connection with the transition to a new industry standard, NACE Rev 1. to NACE Rev 2. from the reference year 2007, some enterprises may be classified under other main industry aggregates than before. But this applies to too few enterprises to make a significant impact on the industry breakdown of the foreign direct investment statistic.
Investments between fellow enterprises are from the reference year 2013 classified as inwards or outwards based on the residency of the ultimate investor (ultimate investor country). We did not recalculate any of the previous year’s data, and the change in methodology has made a significant impact on the debt instruments for both inwards and outwards direct investments.
The quality of the statistic is affected by the quality of the population register that is the basis for the data collection, as well as the quality of the data that is reported. The most common sources of errors are:
- that respondents use erroneous scales, e.g. report figures in kroner instead of thousand kroner
- that respondents makes wrong assessments of what we ask for
- that Statistics Norway’s forms and reporting solutions are not good enough
- that Statistics Norway’s processing of the data during registration leads to errors
Non-respondents in the “Balance of payments data reporting” sample survey are copied from last year’s report, if the enterprise reported the year before. In the “Information on investments abroad” survey, we collect the data for non-respondents from the enterprise’s annual report or from the “Balance of payments data reporting” sample survey.
Both surveys are authorized by the Statistics Act, and we use a compulsory fine in the event of a reporting obligation not being met.
The total population of enterprises with assets or liabilities abroad is unknown but we are sure that the most important enterprises are covered by the surveys. Structural changes like mergers, acquisitions and demergers are challenging to keep track on and may cause sample errors and therefore errors in the statistic.