U.S. debt – who are the creditors?

January 17, 2013 3 Comments
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Who Really Owns the U.S. National Debt? [Preliminary FY2012 Edition]

Political Calculations, via Amfortas:

Today, we’re taking a preliminary look at just who owns all the debt issued by the U.S. federal government through 30 September 2012 – the end of the U.S. government’s fiscal year. Our chart below visualizes what we found:

Preliminary Fiscal Year 2012: To Whom Does the U.S. Government Owe Money?

The information presented in our chart above is preliminary, as the U.S. Treasury typically revises its foreign entity debt ownership data in March of each year.

Overall, U.S. entities own just 65.8% of all debt issued by the U.S. federal government. Ranking the major U.S. entities from low to high, we find that:

  • The U.S. government’s military retirement fund owns 2.4% of the national debt.
  • The U.S. government’s civilian employee retirement fund accounts for another 5.6% of the nation’s debt.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve, thanks to its quantitative easing programs of recent years, has racked up holdings equal to 10.8% of the total U.S. national debt.
  • The U.S. Social Security Trust Fund claims 16.7%.
  • U.S. individuals and institutions, which includes regular Americans, banks, insurance companies and other government entities, own 30.4% of the nation’s debt.

Meanwhile, foreign entities own 34.2% of all U.S. government-issued debt, with the following nations’ individuals and institutions representing the five biggest holders of that debt, again ranked from low to high:

  • United Kingdom: 0.9%
  • Brazil: 1.6%
  • “Oil Exporters”, which includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates: 1.7%
  • Japan: 7.0%
  • China (including Hong Kong): 8.1%

All other nations hold approximately 15% of the U.S. outstanding national debt.

3 Responses to U.S. debt – who are the creditors?

  1. Daedalus
    January 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    That means they owe us £144 Billion, that would fill some holes wouldn’t it? But how much do we owe them?

    Daedalus

    • January 18, 2013 at 12:38 am

      Good question. We’ve just repaid our war loans.

  2. Furor Teutonicus
    January 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Who CARES?

    Not as if we are going to be able to DO anything about it, IS it?

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