The United States has reached yet another debt landmark. For the first time, at the end of June 2014, foreign countries owned more than $6 trillion worth of Treasuries, in fact, they owned $6.013 trillion worth. This is up from $5.595 trillion on June 30, 2013, an increase of 7.5 percent on a year-over-year basis as shown here:
Here is a graph showing how foreign ownership of American debt has increased since 2000:
Since 2000, the amount of American federal debt owned by foreign countries has increased by 567 percent.
Here are the top three foreign owners of U.S. Treasuries:
China – $1.268 trillion
Japan – $1.219 trillion
Belgium – $364 billion
If we go back to June 2007, we find that Japan was the largest holder of U.S. Treasuries at $622.9 billion followed by China at $477.3 billion and the Oil Exporters (i.e. OPEC nations) at $133.2 billion.
Here's a graph that shows how China's Treasury ownership rose rapidly during the first decade of the new millennium and how it has levelled off since 2010:
According to SIFMA, at the end of June 2014 there were $12.071 trillion worth of outstanding Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds and TIPS. This means that at the end of June 2014, foreign countries owned 49.8 percent of all outstanding Treasuries.
If you add in the $2.42 trillion worth of Treasury securities owned by the Federal Reserve on July 30, 2014, three parties, China, Japan and the Federal Reserve, own $4.907 trillion or 40.65 percent of all outstanding United States federal marketable debt.
By way of comparison, here is a pie chart from the Bank of Japan showing what percentage of Japan's government bonds are owned by foreign parties:
At only 8 percent, the world's second-most indebted nation is in far more control of their economic destiny than the United States where an increasingly uncomfortable portion of the debt is owned by foreign nations.
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