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Updating the External Wealth of Nations database to 2021

Brookings: “Editor’s Note: This post updates with year-end 2021 data the External Wealth of Nations database [Excel download], which assembles data on external claims and liabilities of economies around the world. The database is described in more detail in a series of papers (Lane and Milesi-Ferretti 2001, 2007, 2018), and in a companion post. The data are annual for the period 1970-2021 and cover 212 countries and territories, plus the euro area and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The data update to 2021 is currently available for 153 economies (plus the euro area and the ECCU), including the 60 largest economies and 91 of the largest 100. The data will be updated at regular intervals. The 2021 update will be completed for the entire sample at the end of 2022. The year 2021 saw a rapid recovery in global GDP from the depths of the COVID-induced recession, further increases in equity prices across the world, most notably in the United States, and a widening of current account surpluses and deficits. The latter development reflected both the strength of the recovery and the rebound in commodity prices, especially for oil and gas, which boosted the external balances of exporting countries at the expense of importers. The combined effect of these factors reduced the aggregate size of global creditor and debtor positions in relation to world GDP. The dominant factor was the increase in the denominator, boosted by strong growth and rising inflation.”

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