Terence P. Jeffrey
Sept 20, 2011
Foreign ownership of U.S. government debt declined in July for the second straight month, according to Treasury Department data released Friday.
Overall, foreign holdings of U.S. debt dropped from an all-time high of $4.5115 trillion in May to 4.4956 trillion in June and then to $4.478 trillion in July.
In June and July, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were negotiating legislation to increase the legal limit on the U.S. government’s debt. In August, Obama signed legislation that will permit the Treasury to borrow up to another $2.4 trillion.
Among major foreign creditors of the U.S. government, entities in Russia led the way in divesting from U.S. Treasury securities, with Russian holdings of U.S. debt dropping by $9.6 billion from June to July.
In fact, Russian-based owners of U.S. debt have dropped about 43 percent of their overall U.S. debt holdings over the past year. Those holdings peaked at $176.3 billion in October 2010, according to Treasury Department data, and dropped to $100.2 billion by July.
More dramatically, since March 2009, according to historical Treasury Department data, the Russians have dumped about 95 percent (94.94 percent) of their holdings in Treasury bills, which are short-term U.S. Treasury securities that mature in periods of one-year or less.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 3:15 am