Above Photo: James Bowers, dressed as Uncle Sam, asks people if they can “spare a trillion” © Reuters / Chip East
The latest US Treasury Department data shows that foreign investors slashed their holdings of American debt in November by $105 billion, from a year earlier, to $6.2 trillion.
China, the largest foreign holder of US debt, slashed its holdings for a sixth straight month in November. Beijing had $1.12 trillion in US Treasuries, down from $1.138 trillion in October. The decline brought China’s Treasury holdings to the lowest level since May 2017, the data showed.
The two largest foreign creditors of the US — China and Japan — have both been unloading US Treasury securities. China’s holdings fell by $55 billion from a year earlier, Japan’s by $47 billion to $1.04 trillion. Tokyo has now reduced its stash by 16 percent since the peak of $1.24 trillion at the end of 2014.
Russia, which is no longer a leading creditor of the United States after an unprecedented dumping of the US Treasury bonds in April and May, has slashed its stockpile by $1.815 billion in November to $12.814 billion.
Since last year, Russia has slashed around 85 percent of its US Treasury holdings, from $96.9 billion in January 2018 to $12.8 billion in November.
Over the past 12 months, the US gross national debt has ballooned by $1.5 trillion to $22 trillion as of January 30, according to the Treasury.