The Geographical Composition Of National External Balance Sheets: 1980 - 2005

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This paper constructs a data set on stocks of bilateral external assets and liabilities for a group of 18 countries, including developed and emerging economies. The data set covers the years 1980 to 2005 and distinguishes between four asset classes: foreign direct investment, portfolio equity, debt, and foreign exchange reserves. A number of stylized facts emerge from it. There has been a remarkable increase in interconnectivity over the past two decades. Financial links have become larger and more frequent and countries have become more open. The global financial network is centered around a small number of nodes, which have many and large links.