How Much U.S. Debt Does China Actually Own?

By | January 7, 2015

Since the end of September 2008, China had passed Japan and become the largest foreign holder of US government debt (people.cn 2008). According to Department of the Treasury, as of October 2014 China held $1252.7 billion of U.S. debt or about 7% of the total U.S. debt (zerohedge.com 2014, treasury.gov 2014). Calculated based on a total resident population of 320,064,285 as of January 5, 2015, per capita debt owed to China of the United States was $3914.

Composition of U.S. debt

As of September 30, 2014, the U.S. public debt totaled $17.8 trillion out of which 71.9% ($12.8 trillion) was public debt held by the public and 28.1% ($5 trillion) was intragovernmental holdings (Government Account Series (GAS) securities held by government trust funds, revolving funds and special funds). Among the U.S. debt held by the public, approx. 47.3% ($6058.9 billion out of $12.8 trillion) was held by foreign holders (treasury.gov 2014).

Reference:

people.cn 2008. China becomes largest holder of U.S. government debt. accessed on 7th Jan 2015 [online] available: http://en.people.cn/90001/90776/90884/6536616.html

treasury.gov 2014 MAJOR FOREIGN HOLDERS OF TREASURY SECURITIES. accessed on 7th Jan 2015 [online] available: http://www.treasury.gov/ticdata/Publish/mfh.txt

zerohedge.com 2014 Total US Debt Rises Over $18 Trillion; Up 70% Under Barack Obama accessed on 7th Jan 2015 [online] available: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-01/total-us-debt-rises-over-18-trillion

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