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China, Japan, UK, oil countries and Brazil, top holders of US Treasury bonds

Thursday, July 28th 2011 - 06:27 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Foreign countries hold 4.5 trillion dollars of US debt Foreign countries hold 4.5 trillion dollars of US debt

While US politicians remain divided on how to raise the government's ability to borrow, with a key deadline less than a week away, how is the current 14.29 trillion dollars in federal debt split, according to stats from the Treasury Department?

Of the current 14.29tn, 8.1tn is publicly held and 6.2tn is held by the US government. Of the publicly held debt, China with 1.3 trillion dollars is the largest buyer and holder of US Treasury bonds.

Other countries combined hold over 3.2 trillion while a range of investors, individuals, pension funds, banks, state and local governments and other buyers hold 3.6tn.

Of the 6.2tn held by the US government, 2.7tn is in Social Security trust funds while other US government agencies have 1.9 trillion and the Federal Reserve Systems has 1.6 trillion dollars.

The US Treasury Department information lists 35 creditor countries, with Japan ranked second holding 912.4 billion dollars in US debt; UK, 346.5bn; Oil exporting countries, 229.8bn; Brazil, 211.4bn; Taiwan, 153.4bn; Caribbean banks system, 148.3bn; Hong Kong, 121.9bn and Switzerland, 108,2bn.

Besides Brazil other Latin American countries include Mexico with 27.7bn; Colombia, 19.9bn and Chile with 18.9 billion dollars in Treasury bonds.

The US federal government debt breached 100% of GDP in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008.

The vast amount of US debt held abroad illustrates the dollar’s role as the world’s most reliable reserve currency. However this would change unfavourably for the US economy if the default finally breaks international confidence in the greenback.

In such a scenario interest rates in the US would soar as investors abandoned Treasury notes and would force the Federal Reserve to hike rates to entice wary investors. This would cause the US economy to shrink, bringing recession, raising unemployment, pushing price hikes in goods and commodities. Furthermore this would be followed by cuts in government services and at the same time driving up government costs for unemployment insurance and health care.

Internationally a default of dollar denominated debt would have a devastating confidence impact on the dollar, reducing investments in dollars and the value of the US dollar relative other currencies, driving up costs of imports, mainly oil, which represent half of the US imports.

China the largest holder of US debt would be constrained from dumping its Treasury notes because it would diminish the value of its dollar accounts, but other currencies with substantial dollar investments will be tempted.

Categories: Economy, Politics, United States.

Top Comments

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  • geo

    the debt from Greece is /926 millions $
    the debt from Iceland is / 209 millions $
    the debt from Fiji is /1 million $
    the debt from Guinea is / 1 million $
    the debt from Mali is / 1 million $
    the debt from Mongolia is/ 1 million $
    the debt from Somalia is / 1 million $
    the debt from Togo is / 1 million $
    the debt from Vanuatu is / 1 million $

    the debts from Venezuela is / 6,679 millions $
    the debt from Argentina is / 4,127 millions $
    the debt from Brasil is / 134,942 millions $
    the debt from Chile is / 10,540 millions $
    the debt from Colombia is / 8,106 millions $
    the debt from Peru is / 9,064 millions $
    the debt from Uruguay is / 5,105 millions $
    the debt from Paraguay is / 109 millions $

    Jul 28th, 2011 - 09:59 am 0
  • lsolde

    l have no debts, geo. l own my house & car & have investments that pay a dividend. Luck & Prudence.(trying not to be smug!)

    Jul 28th, 2011 - 11:27 am 0
  • geo

    [] - isolde

    bravo !

    i have no debt either, also not using credit card
    which carry usurer interest ...

    Jul 28th, 2011 - 01:32 pm 0
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