China, Japan Both Own At Least $1 Trillion in US Debt

United States Debt - IllustrationForeign ownership of US debt increased to $5.156 trillion in April, setting yet another record in the process.

Over the past 12 months, foreign ownership of US debt has increased from approximately $4.5 trillion to $5.156 trillion. Some of the most voracious buyers of US debt over the past 12 months have been the Caribbean Banking Center countries (Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, etc) and Japan.

As of April 2012, the top ten foreign owners of US debt were:

China, $1.145 trillion
Japan, $1.066 trillion
Oil Exporters, $252.4 billion
Carib Bnkng Ctrs, $247.0 billion
Brazil, $246.7 billion
All Other, $209.8 billion
Taiwan, $188.3 billion
United Kingdom, $154.2 billion
Switzerland, $151.1 billion
Russia, $146.8 billion

Of the $15.73 trillion that the United States currently owes, $10.999 trillion is in the form of public debt, while the remaining amount ($4.7 trillion or so) is in the form of intergovernmental holdings (money that the government owes to programs such as Social Security, etc).

Of the $11 trillion in public debt that the US currently owes, roughly half is held by foreign governments.


The United States is going to need foreign governments to continue to snap up debt over the coming years, as a string of deficits as far as the eye can see is currently forecast for the country.

Source: Foreign Holders of US Debt

Filed under: General Knowledge

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