In an annual revision “of the figures, the Treasury Department said Monday that China’s holdings totaled $1.16 trillion at the end of December,” the AP reports.
The government made the change to its monthly report based on more accurate information it obtains in an annual survey. That survey more does a better job of determining the actual owners of Treasury securities.
China was firmly in the top spot as the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury debt even before the revisions. But the big increase in Chinese holdings could ease fears that Chinese investors might begin dumping their U.S. holdings. Such a development could send U.S. interest rates rising. That would slow America’s economic recovery and increase Washington’s costs for financing the $14.3 trillion national debt.