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Outward Canadian Portfolio Investment

Use this dashboard to analyze Canadian portfolio investment assets overseas in developing and advanced economies.


The rapidly increasing value of foreign securities held by Canadian investors represents an important aspect of Canada’s engagement abroad.

In 2014 outward portfolio investment, comprised of equity and investment fund shares and debt securities, totaled $1.37 trillion, representing a 20% increase over the previous year. This dashboard can be used to analyze outward Canadian portfolio investment by recipient income group, region, and specific countries.

How to use the data

Hover over country circles on the map to see the value of foreign securities held by Canadian investors in that country. Circles are sized to reflect the value of foreign securities in the selected year (by default 2014).

The bottom left pane represents the distribution of Canada’s portfolio investment across regions and the bottom right pane represents the distribution by income group.

Clicking a country on the map will replace the bottom right pane with a country-specific time-series analysis of investment in the selected country. Multiple countries can be selected at one time for comparison (no more than two at a time are recommended). Hold down Control + right click. Click again to deselect.

The data can be filtered with the dropdowns at the top of the dashboard. Use drop-downs to limit the data by ‘Country’, ‘Investment Type,’ ‘Frontier Markets,’ ‘Global Market Action Plan (GMAP) – Priority Markets,’ ‘Region,’ ‘Income Grouping,’ and the ‘Year.’

What the data show

High income countries account for 95% of the total at $1.3 trillion Canadian portfolio assets (at market) overseas in 2014. The United States, at $833 billion, alone accounts for 60% of all portfolio assets. The United Kingdom ($57 bn), Japan ($39 bn ), and Germany ($38 bn) are the next three top destinations for Canadian foreign portfolio holding, both debt and equity.

$69 billion or 5% of Canada’s total foreign portfolio investment assets are among developing countries; primarily in China ($21 bn), Brazil ($12 bn), and India ($9 bn). Canadian owned portfolio assets in developing countries have been growing steadily at about 12% CAGR since 1997.

Geographically, 61% of foreign portfolio assets are within N. America, 21% in Europe, 11% in East Asia, 4% in Latin America. Other regions – S. Asia, SS Africa and Middle East and North Africa – together make up less than 1.5%.

Among developing countries: Canada’ debt securities are largely geographically positioned in Latin America and the Caribbean, which accounts for 64% of debt securities in developing countries. Mexico and Brazil make up the majority of Canada’s holdings of debt securities holdings among developing countries.

By contrast, equity and investment fund shares are largely distributed in East Asia and the Pacific, representing 47% of the share among developing countries. China and India make up the majority of these investments and equity and investment fund shares in these countries have experienced a 30% and 19% CAGR respectively since 1997.

About the data sources

Data is drawn from Statistics Canada, ‘CANSIM, Table 376-0064, International Investment Position, Canadian Portfolio Investment Abroad at Market Value, by Country.’ The World Bank’s geographical and income classification system is used. For comparison with aid flows countries were also classified using the OECD-DAC system.

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