Japan and Belgium Have Both Ramped Up Their Holdings

The Department of Treasury Building - United States of America - Sunny Cloudless Day - PhotoTwo things have been fairly constant over the past 15 years or so - the United States has spent far more than it has brought in and China has had a voracious appetite for US debt.

Over the past 12 months, however, China's appetite has been quelled as they have actually pared their holdings of US debt by 2.03%. According to the most recent filings from the Treasury Department, China’s holdings of US debt clocked in at $1.2709 trillion in May (the last month of data that is available), down over 2% from the same period a year previous.

Normally that would be pretty worrying news for the United States. After all, their deficit for the previous fiscal year was projected to clock in at around $450 billion, and deficit spending in the United States is projected to increase dramatically over the coming years. It goes without saying that the United States will continue to depend heavily on foreign buyers of their debt to continue normal operations.

While China has elected to pare their holdings and moderate their buying, other nations have stepped up.

Japan, for instance, has seen its holdings of US debt rise by over 10% over the past 12 months to $1.2201 trillion. Japan, which was the largest holder of US debt for a long period of time before turning over the crown to China, is within striking distance of being America's largest foreign creditor once again.

Belgium has seen its holdings of US debt spike by over 106% to $362.4 billion over the past 12 months. The consensus, however, is that a large buyer is making their purchases of US debt via Belgium's financial center.

Other nations that have added substantially to their US debt holdings over the past 12 months include:

United Kingdom, +15.4%
Hong Kong, +14.22%
Singapore, +13.64%
Norway, +15.74%
Mexico, +24.66%
India, +17.03%


Russia, on the other hand, has seen its holdings of US debt fall by over 22% over the past year as the country continues to tussle with much of the world over the Ukraine.

Other countries that have trimmed their holdings of US debt over the past 12 months include:

Taiwan, -7.63%
Switzerland, -4.71%
Ireland, -10.46%
Turkey, -11.63%
Thailand, -16.18%

Source: Largest Foreign Holders of US Debt

Filed under: General Knowledge

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