WASHINGTON – Foreign holdings of U.S. debt rose in March as China ramped up its purchases and displaced Japan as the leading owner of U.S. Treasury securities.
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The Treasury Department says overseas ownership of U.S. debt rose 2.1 percent in March to $6.18 trillion. That is below January's record of $6.22 trillion.
China added $37.3 billion of Treasury debt, bringing its stockpile to $1.26 trillion. That's ahead of Japan, which added just $2.5 billion, lifting its total to $1.23 trillion.
In February, Japan became the leading owner of U.S. debt for the first time since August 2008. China overtook Japan that year as the Great Recession, higher government spending and a steep drop in tax revenue pushed up U.S. government borrowing.
The U.S. deficit topped $1 trillion from 2009 through 2012.