Saudi Arabia Officially Owned $116.8 Billion of US Debt As of March 2016

Saudi Arabia map with coat of arms / flag displayed on itFor the very first time, the Treasury Department has disclosed the amount of money that Saudi Arabia has "officially" invested in US debt.

As of March 2016, Saudi Arabia owned $116.8 billion of Treasury securities, making them the 13th largest foreign holder of US debt, behind the likes of China, Japan and Ireland. It is worth noting, however, that some nations accumulate holdings of Treasury securities in offshore locations such as Belgium, which can skew the numbers greatly.

Here are all of the countries that held over $100 billion of Treasury securities as of March 2016:

China, $1.2446 trillion
Japan, $1.1371 trillion
Cayman Islands, $265.0 billion
Ireland, $264.3 billion
Brazil, $246.4 billion
Switzerland, $230.0 billion
United Kingdom, $227.6 billion
Luxembourg, $221.3 billion
Hong Kong, $200.3 billion
Taiwan, $182.3 billion
Belgium, $153.8 billion
India, $118.9 billion
Saudi Arabia, $116.8 billion
Singapore, $112.7 billion


Up until this point, the United States had a policy of grouping the Treasury security holdings of most of the OPEC nations together.

In recent months, however, the Saudi Kingdom has made noises about selling hundreds of billions of dollars in US assets if Congress passed a bill that would allow victims and families of the 9/11 attacks to hold the Saudi monarchy responsible in US courts.

In response to FOIA requests, the US government has elected to release more granular data regarding foreign ownership of US debt. As mentioned, however, the true picture is still clouded, as the Saudi monarchy could be using offshore centers such as Belgium or the Cayman Islands to accumulate the bulk of their US debt.

Source: Foreign Ownership of US Debt

Filed under: General Knowledge

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