Japan surpassed China to become the largest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury securities in October as total foreign holdings fell for a fourth month.
The Treasury Department says that total foreign holdings dropped 1.9 percent to $6.04 trillion in October. Foreign holdings of Treasury debt are down 3.9 percent from a recent peak of $6.28 billion set in March.
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Both Japan and China cut their portfolios in October. But China's reduction was a larger 3.6 percent to $1.12 trillion. Japan trimmed its holdings by a smaller 0.4 percent, which meant its holdings of $1.13 trillion exceeded China's total.
Total federal government debt now stands at $19.8 trillion and is projected to rise by $8.6 trillion over the next decade, underscoring America's need to keep attracting foreign investors.