China Has Purchased An Average of $227 Million Per Day Of US Treasury Securities Since December of 2000

Map of ChinaAs we mentioned yesterday, China is currently the largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities.

As of December, 2010, China held $891.6 billion in US Treasury securities, putting it slightly ahead of Japan ($883.6 billion).

According to historical data found on (link below), China has added over $800 billion to their US debt holdings since December of 2000.

Back in 2000, China wasnít the largest foreign holder of US debt - Japan was. In December of 2000, the US Treasury department reported that Japan owned $317.7 billion worth of US Treasury securities, well ahead of China ($60.3 billion) and the United Kingdom ($50.2 billion).

At the end of 2000, the United States had a total outstanding public debt balance of approximately $5.66 trillion. Of this total, $1.015 trillion was held by foreign governments such as Japan, China and the United Kingdom.


Fast forward to December of 2010.

As of December 31st, 2010, the United States government had a total outstanding public debt balance of just over $14 trillion.

Foreign governments accounted for nearly $4.4 trillion of this total ($4.372 trillion).

The three countries who were owned the most US debt as of December 31st, 2010 were:

China, $891.6 billion
Japan, $883.6 billion
United Kingdom, $541.3 billion

This means that China has added $831.3 billion to their holdings of US Treasury securities since December of 2000. Japan and the UK have also significantly added to their holdings, but they havenít come close to buying at the rate that China has.

Over the past ten years, China has snapped up US debt at the rate of $83.1 billion/year, $6.93 billion/month, $1.6 billion/week and $227 million/day.


Everybody knows the story of Chinaís rapid ascent over the past decade, and everybody knows that China currently owns a pile of US debt.

People, however, may be surprised to learn exactly how much US debt China has bought over just the past ten years. The numbers are truly truly astounding.

Source: - Historical Major Foreign Debt Holders Data

Source: - Current Foreign Debt Holders (December, 2010)

Filed under: General Knowledge

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