Chinese Treasury Holdings Revised $268 Billion Higher To $1.12 Trillion, Fed Still Top Holder Of US Debt

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier, the Treasury International Capital website released its periodic update/refinement of Treasury holdings. Not surprisingly, the most impacted holders were China and the "UK" which as we had previously speculated was nothing but a custodian front for Chinese institutional accumulation. China, which according to the most recent TIC data, owned $891.6 billion in Treasurys as of December 31, is now said to hold $1,160 billion, an adjustment of $268 billion. This upward revision came almost exclusively at the expense of the UK, which saw its holdings decline by $269 billion, in other words a nearly dollar for dollar shift between the UK and China. Japan, the third largest holder, was virtually unchanged at $882.3 billion compared to $883.6 billion pre revision. Oil exporters also saw a modest drop to $212 billion from $218 billion previously (all numbers as of December 31). Still, even with this adjustment, the Fed continues to be, and likely will never be surpassed, at the top position in terms of Treasury Holdings.

Full release:

Preliminary data from the latest annual survey of foreign portfolio holdings
of U.S. securities are now available. The survey measured foreign holdings of
U.S. securities as of June 30, 2010, to be $10,701 billion, with $2,813 billion
held in U.S. equities, $6,930 billion in U.S. long-term debt securities (of
which $1,167 billion are holdings of asset-backed securities (ABS) and $5,763
billion are holdings of non-ABS securities), and $959 billion held in U.S. short-term
debt securities. The previous survey, conducted as of June 30, 2009, measured
total foreign holdings of U.S. securities at $9,641 billion, with holdings of
$2,252 billion in U.S. equities, $6,240 billion in U.S. long-term debt securities,
and $1,149 billion in U.S. short-term debt securities. Long-term debt securities
have an original term-to-maturity of over one year. Asset-backed securities
are backed by pools of assets, such as pools of residential home mortgages or
credit card receivables, which give the security owners claims against the cash
flows generated by the underlying assets. Unlike most other debt securities,
these securities generally repay both principal and interest on a regular basis,
reducing the principal outstanding with each payment cycle. A detailed survey
report, which will include final data as well as additional data detail, is
expected to be available at end-April 2011. The survey was a joint effort of
the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Three data tables are presented below. Each table presents holdings by country
of foreign holder. The first
shows foreign holdings of U.S. securities split into holdings of equities,
long-term debt, and short-term debt. The second table divides holdings of long-term debt securities by type of issuer as follows:
U.S. Treasury, U.S. government agency asset-backed, U.S. government agency non-asset-backed,
U.S. corporate and other asset-backed, and U.S. corporate and other non-asset-backed.
The third table shows separately foreign holdings of short-term U.S. Treasury, U.S. government
agencies, and corporate (and other) debt securities.

It should be noted that in many cases it is not possible to accurately determine
the country of residence of the beneficial owner of U.S. securities. Securities
are often held in custody in countries other than the beneficial owner's country
of residence. Respondents on this survey, in turn, may only know where the securities
are held in custody
. Thus, excessive foreign holdings may be attributed to countries
that are major custodial centers, such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium,
and Luxembourg. Additional information on survey methodology and accuracy can
be found in the article,
Understanding U.S. Cross-Border Securities Data

PDF icon (PDF), from the Federal
Reserve Bulletin, 2006.

Surveys of foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities are conducted annually
and measure foreign holdings as of end-June each year. Complementary surveys
of U.S. holdings of foreign securities are conducted annually as of end-December.
Questions about the survey can be directed to
Contact TIC
(this link is found also at the upper right-side
of any TIC webpage). Questions from the news media should be directed to the Office of
Public Affairs at the Department of the Treasury at (202) 622-2960.

The Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System wish to thank all of the institutions who participated in
the survey, without whose efforts the survey would not have been possible.



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gwar5's picture

Oopsy. Was somebody sandbagging or just misplace $268 billion? 

Drag Racer's picture

out of Bernanks mouth was a number around 2 trillion for China's holdings. either he does not know(?) or there is quite a bit of sandbagging

asdasmos's picture

Marc mentions that the bond market is 'rigged by the federal reserve and other institutions' again.


Marc Faber on CNBC 02/28/11

Spalding_Smailes's picture

HSBC - Multi-asset China research ~ ( 250 pages )

By 2020, China will have six provinces with an annual GDP of more than USD1 trillion, equal to six countries the size of Russia (or Spain or Canada).  With 47% of the population now living in cities, eight Chinese cities have a population of more than 10m, and 93 have more than 5m. By comparison, in the US only New York City has a population of more than 5m. 

Kunshan, one of 2,000 county-level cities, produces more than half of the world’s notebook PCs, or 85m units – and yet IT manufacturing is not even its top-ranked industry.

The danger, however, is that over-investment leads to overcapacity. For example, Kunshan’s strong position in IT is being challenged by the municipality of Chongqing. Together they could soon supply 80 per cent of the world’s notebook PCs – raising concentration risks as well as oversupply concerns. Third, overcapacity may lead to bad credits. For example, a recent report submitted by the China Academy of Science to the State Council raised concerns about unsustainable debt levels and the risk of loss-making activities. It noted that the 1,000km Wuhan to Guangzhou bullet train, which started operating earlier this year, was running at less than half its capacity and would never make enough money to pay off the loans used to finance it.

zaphod's picture

The chinese are going to blindly build capacity until there is a huge supply glut, and then they are going to build about 10x more manufacturing sites, etc.


In the end it will be a disaster for them.

hambone's picture

Spectacular - the "Fast Money" traders in full attack of Schiff because he's been saying the same thing for two years and apparently the FM traders cite the low 10yr T (joke) and high stock market refutes Schiff...the closing remark from the CNBC smart guys is "corporate earnings have never been better, you have to dismiss Schiff".

Will make another great clip of Schiff was right - just the Fast Money folks can't think 3 months, 6 months, a year out...that kind of timeframe is whacky for those who trade on the nanosecond.

CNBC is fucking pathetic'er than ever.

BTW - DXY could be slipping tonight out of it's trading range...if that ball starts rolling there may be little stopping it.

RmcAZ's picture

Wow... "Corporate earnings have never been better, you have to dismiss Schiff".

CNBC just hit another new low... I didn't think it could get any worse... these guys must be living under a rock.

AldoHux_IV's picture

Once again, the best budget solution for our country would be to end the federal reserve and restructure our debt with actual government issued and backed currency.  Reform the treasury and try those sons of bitches: Bernanke and Geithner for their involvement (with financial executives as well) in the biggest economic social class genocide history has seen.

traderjoe's picture


- What does the lettering at the bottom of your avatar say?

RezaAlmaneih's picture

+ 2

That is the only good way the solve the problem. Hopefully the banksters will understand.


narnia's picture
the best solution is to let the system collapse & start over again.  these people bought fiat, they don't deserve a security instrument in return.  when we start over, we don't have a federal reserve & have a backed currency.  
Nobody special's picture

China is busy racing the guy with the USD print button.  Who will win, the productive Chinese who supply their goods for fiat, or those who create unlimited fiat at the push of a button.  Oh the suspense. /sarc

I count my blessings that the Chinese are still collecting virtual wealth.  They know it's worthless; they realize it cannot be redeemed.  Their choice is a gift, and it buys time for the awakened.  A reset, as you suggested, will happen.  But better the masses get a chance to prepare.  Every day, more sheeple awake from their slumber.  Every day, more people are gifted a fighting chance.  One must realize China's choice to buy UST is a gift of clean air and a delay to US civil war.  Enjoy the freedom and leverage the gift.

topcallingtroll's picture


And people thought I was crazy for saying it was mostly china and others wanting to hide their intentions.

When china's bluff didnt accomplish squidly squat, then it became a sign of weakness to pretend to hide their purchases any longer.

China cant hurt us in any way without their government and economy collapsing. If china really tried a financial war they are in such a weak position it would result in the end of a one party dictatorship.

SDRII's picture

If the BLS isnt to be believed and all other data is suspect why so certain this data is clean? Not making a judgement one way or other just saying selective application is dangerious. It is probably a safe assumption that the global capital flows data is hgih up on the list of things to monitor - see comment below on Sester moving to national Economic Council

disabledvet's picture

careful what you ask for--you could get a two party dictatorship in response.

spartan117's picture


In order for China to buy USTs, they need to have dollars.  In order to get dollars, they need to sell RMBs.  Who is buying all those RMBs?  If Chiina crashes, what happens to the value of the RMB?  So tell me again, who's problem is it really?

DonutBoy's picture

They don't need to sell RMB's to get dollars.  They have a trade surplus.  They get more dollars than they know what to do with. 

topcallingtroll's picture

China gets dollars when they sell stuff to us. Since they cheat us with a pegged currency they get more dollars than they know what to do with from us. The first thing to do is end these trade imbalances by making china play fair and float their currency. If they wont do that our only other option is to push more pain and inflation their way.

spartan117's picture

A net surplus from selling stuff to us?  So, if the dollar tanks, how is it China's problem again?  Yes, the value of that surplus goes down the drain, but the USD won't be able to buy shit in the global economy, and you say this is China's problem?  How so?

chinaguy's picture

"When china's bluff didnt accomplish squidly squat, then it became a sign of weakness to pretend to hide their purchases any longer."

Exactly +1

SDRII's picture

Sester, now working on National Economic Council, made this point repeatedly.

Wonders what role he is playing coordinating the imbalances


smlbizman's picture

i know this is out there ,but what if the fed is supplying chinia the paper to buy the paper

Drag Racer's picture

I think it's more like the fed and China both get it from the same player.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

Bad Paper ???

Brazil may be heading for a subprime crisis

Brazil has been on a credit binge – over the past 5 years credit growth has run at 2.4 times nominal gross domestic product. This compares with 2, 1.6 and 1.2 times for Russia, India and China respectively. Normally this isn’t a problem, as leverage is rising from a low level and the ratio of loans to GDP is “only” 46 per cent; this compares with private sector debt in the US at 165 per cent of GDP.

However, the problem lies with the burden this debt is imposing on borrowers. In spite of a fall in inflation to a manageable rate of 6 per cent, the banks in Brazil charge an average lending rate of approximately 25 per cent and, in case of consumer lending, the rates are well in excess of 30 per cent. This means the Brazilian borrower base is paying “real” interest of circa 20-25 per cent against a norm of 1-3 per cent in most countries – borrowing in Brazil is punitively expensive.

For consumers specifically, the ramifications are serious as the debt service burden has risen to 24 per cent of disposable income and is set to rise further as rates push higher. We expect the burden to rise to an exorbitant 30 per cent by 2012. To put this into context, the US consumer “blew up” when the debt service burden hit 14 per cent (with a current read of approximately 12 per cent). In other words, the Brazilian consumer has twice the debt load from a cash flow perspective relative to a US consumer who is still widely regarded as being over leveraged.

The situation in Brazil is worryingly similar to the sub-prime crisis in the US. A lot of credit is being pushed by the banks at high rates to consumers who ultimately won’t be able to service the debt.

Harmonious_Dissonance's picture

Good points on the overheating there Smailes. I'm thinking very slow dominos...

johny2's picture

I stay in Brazil every year. The reason why the sub prime is not going to happen there is becouse there are no 125 % mortages offered in Brazil at low interest rates, at least as far as I know. The economy of Brazil may follow if the rest of the world crashes before it, but analysis mentioned from Mr Spalding above, are misinformation.

smlbizman's picture

chinia..yeah thats the ticket

km4's picture

For a minute I was worried that Banana Ben would lose his #1 postion to the Chinese ;)

disabledvet's picture

so was he!  Remember REHAB'S FOR QUITERS!

10kby2k's picture

O'Bommy's birth certificate is in Bejing?

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

268 billion in bonds just another suitcase across the Italian border carried by Chinese/korean ..businessmen.

tired1's picture

# Max Keiser thinks the bonds were being transfered to allow banks to show sufficient capitalization for audits. These bonds could be used over and over at different banks (if they were authentic) to show that the bank had the required capitalization ratio. The regulators never check whether the same bonds are used at different banks. # All of us here know the Fed has been involved in shenanigans of epic proportions, so it is not hard to believe they slipped up this once and got caught in their shell game of debt.

user2011's picture

I don't get it... US dollar is dropping in value. Why Chinese want to buy more ? in 2010, Japan has lost 80 billion dollar worth as US dollar devalue. Chinese lost even more as they have more treasury and dollar reserve.

topcallingtroll's picture

The chinese do it to keep their people employed and their bubble going longer. Ben is now making it hurt by devaluing the dollar.

zaknick's picture

My guess is that the chinese politicos over there need export markets to maintain social order via low unemployment. I've read a couple of times that there are lots of public protests in China every year we never hear about. If there is a failed auction/economic collapse, serious bad juju follows tor all. Besides, to them it's just monopoly money to keep the peasants distracted while they and fellow SCO member countries continue acumulating real wealth (silver, gold etc).

So, they prop up the euro and the dollar...... their export markets and our lost jobs!

narnia's picture

china is choking on $ with the balance of trade & the carry trade. they've been burned in the US stock market, in the US real estate bubble...  they have to do something with these things, so they figured they might as well get some food stockpiles up (  i hope that's the reason, not preparation for war or some other factor.  the chinese realized this action (in addition to the worldwide supply issues & the easing of monetary policy worldwide- which was pushing speculation into commodities) was exacerbating the demand for food worldwide, so they stopped.  they have decided the best place to put these $, the only place that doesn't cause disruption, is toxic US public debt.   

disabledvet's picture

the word "Jasmine" comes to mind.  A spice?

Drag Racer's picture

What just happened to the US bond market??

rookie's picture

so why can't we only default on the red column?  break up the tbtf, shut down derivatives casino, enact simpson/bowles budget plan.

come on ZHers, let's make a plan. . . i need a plan. . .have children

Threeggg's picture

The plan ?

Buy Plastic Rice Futures !

rookie's picture

riiight . . . you masters of the universe just keep on fighting posting collateral for derivatives, fight simpson/bowles to keep your mortgage interest deduction on your place in Greenwich and East Hampton, and of course, …must keep your carried interest.  Good luck enjoying all of your profits from plastic rice futures when the currency crashes.  You all are the ones who are smart enough to help figure a way out of this mess, yet you refuse to for short term gain . . . could be very short term.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Huge props for ZH are due. More truth reverse-engineered from the smoke and mirrors.

Financial information people can use, early enough to be relevant. G.O.A.T is in play here.

chinaguy's picture

-268 billion

(from the UK-hee -hee)

bob_dabolina's picture

I'm sure the folks at ZH have noticed this but how the fuck is Japan, a country with 200% of GDP, Americas 3rd largest creditor to the worlds number 1 most indebted nation?

Isn't that kinda' like a homeless man lending money to a sub-prime borrower? Like what the fuck? There has got to be something going on behind the scenes that allows this to happen. Maybe someone in a privilaged position and a bit of forensic journalism can figure this out...ahem...ahem. Or is there something simple I am missing?

hambone's picture

Japan has one of the largest trade surpluses in the world along w/ China and Germany.  They still spend far more than they take in in tax revenue and probably have more unfunded liabilities (per capita) than anybody. 

So, in debt they are but still more dollars coming in than yen going out (my Yoda moment).

However, all that money is pretty much owed internally.  Japan's gotta do something w/ that trade of the many reasons looking to Japan to guide America through it's debt debacle isn't overly realistic.

To me, the really strange one is the UK???  Anybody have the skinny on that???  You scratch my back, I'll make sure again that the Germans don't take you over in next WW???

narnia's picture

the japanese people have such a culture of saving & pride in government that they are willing to lend their government money at whatever interest the government states. they self-finance deficits within their own borders.  savings into government debt- as opposed to the private market- a lot of which was used to purchase toxic US debt- may not only explain the lost decades of no economic growth, but sets them up for a double whammy of wealth destruction when the music stops. 

Quaderratic Probing's picture

Japans cars and tv's sold in USD are recycled back to America in bonds... as does China's products profits also end up in US bonds. If they convert the USD to home currency they lose the cheap product advantage.

kaiten's picture

Ben is better than Wen ;)

AUD's picture

I didn't think it was the Fed propping up the UST market, they are merely distorting it.