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Press Center

 Preliminary Report On Foreign Holdings Of U.S. Securities


2/28/2013

WASHINGTON - Preliminary data from a survey of foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities at the end of June 2012 were released today on the Treasury website at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Pages/fpis.aspx.  Final survey results, which will include additional detail as well as possible revisions to the preliminary data, will be reported on April 30, 2013.  The survey was undertaken jointly by Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  The next survey will cover holdings at the end of June 2013; preliminary data are expected to be released by February 28, 2014.

Complementary surveys measuring U.S. holdings of foreign securities are also carried out annually.  Data from the most recent survey, reporting on securities held at year-end 2012, are currently being processed.  Preliminary results are expected to be reported by August 30, 2013.

Overall Preliminary Results
The survey measured the value of foreign holdings of U.S. securities as of June 30, 2012, to be $13,259 billion, with $4,237 billion held in U.S. equities, $8,211 billion in U.S. long-term debt securities1 (of which $1,122 billion are holdings of asset-backed securities (ABS) 2 and $7,089 billion are holdings of non-ABS securities), and $811 billion held in U.S. short-term debt securities.  The previous survey, conducted as of June 30, 2011, measured the value of total foreign holdings of U.S. securities at $12,440 billion, with holdings of $3,830 billion in U.S. equities, $7,731 billion in U.S. long-term debt securities, and $878 billion in U.S. short-term debt securities (see Table 1). 

Revisions to the Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities Table
A revised table on Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities was also released (at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Pages/ticsec2.aspx, on line 1 of Part A).  Since January of 2012, data on foreign holdings of Treasury securities have been collected monthly instead of annually and have been included in the Major Foreign Holders table.  The new data have improved the accuracy of country attribution for foreign holdings of Treasury securities by removing the "transactions bias" in the monthly estimates that, before 2012, were based solely on monthly transactions data (see TIC FAQ #7 at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Treasury-International-Capital/Pages/tic-faqs.aspx#q7).  In past years, the accumulated monthly transactions bias was often large and often resulted in some sizable reallocations of holdings across countries when the data from the comprehensive annual June survey were released the following February.  In the new Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities Table being released with this announcement, the revisions are minor.3 

 

1.  Long-term debt securities have an original term-to-maturity of over one year.
2.  Asset-backed securities are backed by pools of assets, such as pools of residential home mortgages or credit card receivables, which give the security owners claims against the cash flows generated by the underlying assets.  Unlike most other debt securities, these securities generally repay both principal and interest on a regular basis, reducing the principal outstanding with each payment cycle.
3.  Data on holdings of long-term securities, as well as the table on Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities, reflect foreign holdings of U.S. securities collected primarily on the basis of custodial data.  These data help provide a window into foreign ownership of U.S. securities, but they cannot attribute holdings of U.S. securities with complete accuracy.  For example, if a U.S. Treasury security purchased by a foreign resident is held in a custodial account in a third country, the true ownership of the security will not be reflected in the data.  The custodial data will also not properly attribute U.S. Treasury securities managed by foreign private portfolio managers who invest on behalf of residents of other countries.  In addition, foreign countries may hold dollars and other U.S. assets that are not captured in the TIC data.  For these reasons, it is difficult to draw precise conclusions from TIC data about changes in the foreign holdings of U.S. financial assets by individual countries.

Table 1.  Foreign holdings of U.S. securities, by type of security, as of recent survey dates
(Billions of dollars)
Table 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2.  Foreign holdings of U.S. securities, by country and type of security,
for the major investing countries into the U.S., as of June 30, 2012
(Billions of dollars)
Table 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  Excludes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, which are reported separately.
2.  Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.

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