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.
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.
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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.