Featured statistic: -47 percent

Date 9 February 2009

Due to falling stock exchange prices, the value of cross-border equity holdings has been on the decline since the second quarter of 2007. At 47%, however, the value of foreign holdings of Dutch shares has dropped at a much faster rate than that of foreign equity held by Dutch residents (16%, up to and including the third quarter of 2008). For the first time since three years, the value of Dutch investors’ foreign equity portfolio therefore exceeds that of Dutch equity in foreign hands (see Chart).

The sharper drop in the value of Dutch shares is the result of the fact that share prices of Dutch listed enterprises, which include relatively many financial institutions, have been hit relatively hard by the financial crisis. However, this is not the only explanation: also takeovers of a number of listed Dutch enterprises – e.g. ABN Amro and Numico – have led to a decrease in the number of Dutch shares in foreign investors’ portfolios. These shares were largely taken over by foreign direct investors. As is known, in the final quarter of 2008, the Fortis share of ABN Amro passed into the hands of the Dutch state.

Chart Cross-border equity holding (EUR billion)