Preliminary data from the latest annual survey of foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities were released on February 28, 2013. 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) 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. Long-term debt securities have an original term-to-maturity of over one year. 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. A final survey report, which will include additional detail as well as possible revisions to the preliminary data, is expected to be available on April 30, 2013. The survey was undertaken jointly by the Department of the 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.
Three data tables are presented below. Each table presents holdings by country of foreign holder. The first table shows foreign holdings of U.S. securities split into holdings of equities, long-term debt, and short-term debt. The second table divides holdings of long-term debt securities by type of issuer as follows: U.S. Treasury, U.S. government agency asset-backed, U.S. government agency non-asset-backed, U.S. corporate and other asset-backed, and U.S. corporate and other non-asset-backed. The third table shows separately foreign holdings of short-term U.S. Treasury, U.S. government agencies, and corporate (and other) debt securities.
It should be noted that 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. Additional information on survey methodology and accuracy can be found in the article, Understanding U.S. Cross-Border Securities Data (PDF), from the Federal Reserve Bulletin, 2006.
The Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System wish to thank all of the institutions who participated in the survey, without whose efforts the survey would not have been possible.
The Press Release is dated February 28, 2013.
Surveys of foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities are conducted annually and measure foreign holdings as of end-June each year. Complementary surveys of U.S. holdings of foreign securities are conducted annually as of end-December each year. Questions about the surveys can be directed to Contact TIC (this link is found also at the upper right-side of any TIC webpage). Questions from the news media should be directed to the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of the Treasury at (202) 622-2960.
Last Updated: February 28, 2013