Working Papers

Net Foreign Assets and External Market Structure: Evidence from the Middle East

Publication Number: ECESWP58-E

May, 2001

Author : Philip R. Lane and Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti

Type : Working Papers

Recent years have witnessed substantial changes in the composition of capital flows to developing countries, with FDI and equity flows playing an increasing role. Using a new cross-country dataset on external assets and liabilities, this paper discusses the implications of these trends for the level and composition of countries’ external positions, with particular emphasis on the experience of Middle-Eastern countries. The study emphasizes three main findings: First, MENA countries present a very heterogeneous picture, with Gulf countries typically holding net external assets while the others display large external liabilities. Second, stocks of equity liabilities, in the form of direct investment and portfolio equity investment, are growing in importance with respect to debt liabilities, but are smaller in Middle-Eastern countries with respect to other developing countries. And finally, net external assets can be an important driving force of real exchange rates in the long run, as debtor countries have more depreciated exchange rates than creditor countries.