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April 17, 2006

Who do we owe it to?

Recent headlines have focused on U.S. borrowing from China and other foreign countries. But China isn’t the leading buyer of U.S. debt, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

“If you look at who owns U.S. Treasury securities, which is what we are talking about here, Japan still continues to be the biggest owner by far in terms of the country. Japan owns $700 billion right now of U.S. Treasury securities,” says Dr. Walden, a North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist.

"Now China is second on the list, but they are far down on the list. They are at $165 billion. Not too far behind them is the United Kingdom at $128 billion. And then several countries in East Asia like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong: Together they own about $150 billion of treasury securities.

"Sometimes people ask, ‘What about those countries in OPEC -- those oil producing countries? Do they have a lot of our debt?’ Actually not. Collectively they own only about $43 billion worth of treasury securities."

Posted by deeshore at April 17, 2006 08:00 AM