Guidelines for multinational enterprises

Implementing new international standards for compiling FDI statistics


7 August 2015 - Read the brochure explaining the major changes introduced in the OECD's 4th Benchmark Definition of FDI

9 March 2015 - In September 2014, many countries implemented the latest international guidelines for compiling foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics:


BPM6 and BMD4 make recommendations for compiling FDI statistics that result in more meaningful measures of FDI. These include:

  • presenting aggregate FDI statistics in a way comparable to other macroeconomic statistics, such as Balance of Payments statistics
  • separately identifying capital being channelled through special purpose entities
  • presenting statistics according to the country of the ultimate investor as well as the immediate investor

The new standards have resulted in significant changes in FDI statistics, including new measures of FDI at the global level.

The OECD FDI Statistics database featuring the new statistics was launched on 17 March 2015. Access the data on OECD.Stat (categorised under Globalisation), compiled using BMD4.

Explaining the new features

Aggregate statistics are now reported on what is called the asset/liability basis instead of what is called the directional basis. Previous guidance had been to measure FDI on the directional basis.

This change had made it difficult during the transition to interpret the statistics due to breaks in series and to different measures being used by different countries.

We explain these new features in a series of three papers and a brochure:


FDI statistics, OECD analysis, data and forecasts

Benchmark Definition of FDI, 4th edition (BMD4)




Maria Borga
Senior Statistician
OECD Investment Division 
[email protected]



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