China, Japan Continue To Increase Holdings of US Debt

The Department of Treasury Building - United States -  WashingtonAccording to the US Department of the Treasury, foreign ownership of US debt hit an all-time high in December of 2012, topping the $5.55 trillion mark.

From December of 2011 until December of 2012, foreign ownership of US debt increased from $5.0074 trillion to $5.5554 trillion.

The largest foreign holders of US debt as of December/2012:

1. China, Mainland, $1202.8 billion dollars
2. Japan, $1120.2 billion dollars
3. Oil Exporters*, $262.5 billion dollars
4. Brazil, $251.5 billion dollars
5. Carib Bnkng Ctrs**, $250.0 billion dollars
6. All Other, $240.3 billion dollars
7. Taiwan, $198.8 billion dollars
8. Switzerland, $193.9 billion dollars
9. Russia, $157.6 billion dollars
10. Luxembourg, $150.5 billion dollars

*Includes oil exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran

**includes countries such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands

The current debt load of the United States is a little over $16.5 trillion. Of this number, $11.67 trillion is in the form of public debt, which is money that is owed to foreign investors, American investors, pension funds, foreign governments, etc.


Let's look at the month-over-month and year-over-year changes for the top foreign holders of US debt:

Country, Monthly Change, Yearly Change

China, +1.67%, +4.42%
Japan, +0.22%, +5.84%
Oil Exporters, +1.31%, +0.54%
Brazil, -1.72%, +10.84%
Carib Banking Centers, -5.12%, +10.04%
Taiwan, -0.15%, +12.13%
Switzerland, +0.62%, +36.17%
Russia, -5.17%, +5.42%
Luxembourg, +1.48%, +1.96%
United Kingdom, +6.37%, +24.23%

Source: - Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities

Filed under: General Knowledge

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