Canadian holdings of foreign securities increased 15.2% to $2.05 trillion at the end of 2017, the ninth consecutive year of growth following the 2008 global financial crisis, Statistics Canada announced on Tuesday.
The increase in foreign assets was driven by a combination of gains on foreign stock markets and investors adding foreign equities to their holdings during the year.
However, an increase in the value of the Canadian dollar versus both the U.S. dollar (which accounts for 64% of Canadian investors’ foreign assets), and the yen (5% of foreign assets), weighed on the value of foreign holdings in those currencies, Statistics Canada says in a news release.
By asset class, holdings of foreign equities finished the year at $1.63 trillion, up by $266.6 billion. The increase is mainly due to higher foreign stock prices.
Holdings of foreign debt grew by $2.6 billion in 2017 to $416.2 billion.
In terms of geography, Canadian holdings of U.S. securities grew by 17.1% during the year, to $1.25 trillion. Investors’ holdings in Asia and Oceania securities grew by 15.2%, and holdings of European securities grew by 11.5%
Canada ranks among the top 10 holders of foreign equities in the world, Statistic Canada says, with offshore asset holdings that are comparable to Germany, Ireland and Hong Kong.
In addition, investors in Canada and the U.S have higher exposures to equities than countries such as Japan, Germany and France, leaving Canadian and U.S. investors more exposed to fluctuations in global stock markets.