In which countries are the most Treasury securities held?

The federal government borrows money by issuing Treasury securities.Treasury securities are debt instruments issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to raise the money needed to operate the federal government. For more information, see How does the federal government borrow ?

Based on the Report on Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities as of June 30, 2015, more than 75 percent of foreign holdings of Treasury securities can be attributed to 14 countries. China (excluding territories such as Hong Kong) and Japan have the largest holdings. However, this does not mean that residents of these countries are the ultimate owners. The data only identify where the securities are held. Obtaining accurate information on the actual foreign owners is often not possible, because chains of foreign financial intermediaries are often involved in the custody or management of these securities. For more information on the limitations of these foreign ownership data, see What information is available about foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury and other securities?

No Data $1-50 billion $51-100 billion $101-200 billion $201-1,000 billion $1,001-1,300 billion
Cayman Islands
Hong Kong
United Arab Emirates
British Virgin Islands
East Timor

Sources: GAO analysis of data from the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities as of June 30, 2015.

Notes: Countries highlighted on the map hold at least $1 billion in Treasury securities and together represent about 99 percent of all foreign holdings. China refers to mainland China; territories such as Hong Kong are reported separately. Data on Treasury securities held by Serbia and Montenegro are reported together, totaling about $2 billion as of June 30, 2015.