Which Countries Own the Most U.S. Debt?

October 15, 2013, Written By Lynn Oldshue

The shutdown of the U.S. Government enters its third week, and Americans are growing more and more frustrated with the situation.

But there are also plenty of other countries that are watching this situation with a vested interest. Some countries are getting leery about the value of investment in U.S. debt.

The United States itself owns the majority of its debt, but there are trillions of dollars owned by other countries.

The Washington Post issued a chart that highlights which foreign entities currently hold the most U.S. debt. Here is a list of the top 10:

  1. China: $1.3 trillion
  2. Japan: $1.1 trillion
  3. Caribbean Banking Centers: $287.7 billion
  4. Middle Eastern Oil Exporters: $257.7 billion
  5. Brazil: $256.4 billion
  6. Taiwan: $185.8 billion
  7. Switzerland: $178.2 billion
  8. Belgium: $167.7 billion
  9. United Kingdom: $156.9 billion
  10. Luxembourg: $146.8 billion

In total, the foreign-held debt for America rests at $5.6 trillion. China owns nearly a quarter of the total.

The Chinese economy is closely tied to the American economy, and China is often described as “America’s banker.” China just recently underwent a financial crisis of its own. The last thing it needs is a blow from the U.S. economy.

The state of our economy, and the government as a whole, remains a mystery. Until the shutdown is, well, shut down, America and the rest of the world will have to hold tight to our piggy banks and cross our fingers.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of October 15, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.