Thursday, June 08, 2006

Who Owns the U.S's Debt?

"Debt is such a powerful tool, it is such a useful tool, it's much better than colonialism ever was because you can keep control without having an army, without having a whole administration."
Susan George

One of the most frightening facts about our debt is that a good portion of it (about 25%, or $2 trillion) is owned by foreigners. Some of these countries, such as China, are buying our debt for political leverage, other countries are using our debt as an investment vehicle. Regardless of the motives, every bond that we sell overseas means less money in our economy in the long term.

So what countries own our debt? Take a look.

(in billions of dollars)
All Data Current as of March, 2006


Japan _____________ 640.1
China _____ ________ 321.4
United Kingdom 2/ ____179.5
Oil Exporters 3/ ______ 98.0
Korea ______________72.4
Taiwan _____________68.9
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 4/ ____61.7
Hong Kong __________ 46.6
Germany ___________46.5
Mexico ____________ 40.1
Luxembourg ________ 36.8
France _____________34.9
Canada _____________34.7
Singapore ___________33.1
Switzerland _________32.0
Brazil _____________31.4
Turkey ____________21.0
Ireland ___________19.6
Sweden ___________ 17.9
Thailand __________17.5
Belgium ___________17.1
Netherlands _______ 15.3
Italy ____________13.7
Israel ___________ 12.3
Poland __________ 12.2
India ____________11.2
All Other _________151.3

Grand Total _______2087.2

reported under the Treasury International Capital (TIC) reporting system are based on annual
Surveys of Foreign Holdings of U.S. Securities and on monthly data.
2/ United Kingdom includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
3/ Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.
4/ Caribbean Banking Centers include Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama.

Data courtesy of
the U.S Department of the Treasury

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