China’s holdings of U.S. debt jump 30%

By Reuters
Posted Feb. 28 at 5:02 p.m.

The United States owes considerably more money to China than previously reported, the Treasury Department said on Monday as it revised Beijing’s holdings of U.S. Treasury debt sharply upward to $1.160 trillion.

The $268.4 billion increase over figures reported on February 15 was contained in a survey of foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities released on Monday. The report attributed Treasuries holdings to China that were previously counted in other countries where broker-dealers made purchases.

The United Kingdom has typically been a country where brokers have purchased Treasuries for central banks and investors elsewhere, including China.

The Treasury report showed that UK December Treasuries holdings were revised downward to $272.1 billion from a previously reported $541.3 billion — a drop of $269.2 billion.

Other major foreign holders of Treasuries showed much smaller revisions. Japan’s December holdings declined $1.3 billion to $882.3 billion, while holdings of oil-exporting countries $6.1 billion to $211.9 billion.

The preliminary report of foreign portfolio holdings showed that as of June 30, 2010, foreign countries held $10.701 trillion of U.S. securities, an 11 percent increase over the $9.641 trillion they held a year earlier.

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