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Visualizing Who Holds U.S. Debt Internationally

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Visualizing Who Holds U.S. Debt Internationally

Visualizing Who Holds U.S. Debt Internationally

We recommend viewing the full-size version of today’s infographic by clicking here.

Everyone knows that the U.S. Federal Government has roughly $20 trillion of debt. A question we often get, however, is who exactly owns all these treasuries? And if it’s held abroad by countries like China, what portion do they hold?

Today’s infographic comes from TitleMax, and it looks at who owns U.S. debt internationally, as well as the debt from other countries that is held by the U.S.

Who Holds U.S. Debt?

Federal government debt in the United States can be broadly placed in two categories: “Debt held by the public” and “Intragovernmental debt”. The former category includes securities held by individual investors, corporations, local and state governments, the Federal Reserve, and foreign governments.

Meanwhile, intragovernmental debt includes securities held in accounts administered by other federal authorities. This category, for example, would include treasuries owed to the Social Security Trust Fund.

Here’s the tallies of these two categories as of December 2016:

Federal U.S. Debt (Billions)
Debt held by the public$14,202.1
Intragovernmental debt$5,395.7
Total debt$19,597.8

Debt Held By the Public

“Debt held by the public” is the most interesting of these, and it can be further broken down:

EntityU.S. Debt Held (Billions)
Foreign/International$6,154.9
Federal Reserve*$2,490.6
Mutual Funds$1,524.8
State and Local Gov'ts (incl. pensions)$899.4
Banks$620.3
Private pension funds$549.1
Insurance Companies$344.8
U.S. Savings Bonds$165.8
Other$1,449.1

*Note: Data for Fed is for marketable securities only. All data in this table from September 2016.

About 43% of all debt held by the public is actually owned by foreign governments, corporations, and individuals.

U.S. Debt Held Internationally

Here’s how that breaks down by country:

CountryU.S. Debt Held (Billions)
Japan$1,090.8
China$1,058.4
Ireland$288.2
Cayman Islands$263.5
Brazil$259.2
Switzerland$229.9
Luxembourg$223.4
United Kingdom$217.1
Hong Kong$191.4
Taiwan$189.3
India$118.2
Saudi Arabia$102.8
Others$1,771.7

Note: This data is from December 2016

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Visualizing Berkshire Hathaway’s Stock Portfolio (Q1 2024)

We visualized the latest data on Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio to see what Warren Buffett is invested in.

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Visualizing Berkshire Hathaway’s Portfolio as of Q1 2024

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Wondering what the Oracle of Omaha has his money invested in?

In this graphic, we illustrate Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio holdings, as of Q1 2024. This data was released on May 15, 2024, and can be easily accessed via CNBC’s Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.

The value of each position listed in this graphic is based on market prices as of May 23, 2024, and will change over time.

Furthermore, note that Berkshire has received SEC permission to temporarily withhold data on certain positions. This includes all of its Japanese stocks, which are reported as of June 12, 2023.

It’s (almost) all Apple

The data we used to create this graphic can be found in the following table. Positions worth less than $5 billion were included in “Other”.

Company% of PortfolioValue
(As of 05-23-2024)
🇺🇸 Apple Inc39.7$149.8B
🇺🇸 Bank of America10.7$40.6B
🇺🇸 American Express9.7$36.8B
🇺🇸 Coca-Cola6.7$25.2B
🇺🇸 Chevron5.3$20.0B
🇺🇸 Occidental Petroleum4.2$15.7B
🇺🇸 Kraft Heinz3.1$11.7B
🇺🇸 Moody’s2.7$10.2B
🇯🇵 Mitsubishi Corp2.1$7.8B
🇺🇸 Chubb1.9$7.1B
🇯🇵 Mitsui & Co1.7$6.4B
🇯🇵 Itochu Corporation1.5$5.5B
🇺🇸 DaVita1.3$5.0B
🌍 Other9.4$35.9B
Total100$377.9B

From this, we can see that Berkshire’s largest position is Apple, which makes up almost 40% of the portfolio and is worth nearly $150 billion.

While Warren Buffett once referred to Apple as the best business in the world, his firm actually trimmed its position by 13% in Q1 2024.

Even after that cut, Berkshire still maintains a 5.1% ownership stake in Apple.

Why Japanese Stocks?

While most of Berkshire’s major positions are in American companies, Japanese firms make up a significant chunk.

In 2020, Berkshire took positions in five Japanese trading houses: Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and Sumitomo.

Also known as sōgō shōsha, which translates to “general trading company”, these firms are highly diversified across major industries.

According to an article from IMD, Buffett sees an attractive opportunity in Japan due to the country’s low-interest rates, among other things.

Learn More About Investing From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this graphic, be sure to check out Visualizing the Growth of $100, by Asset Class (1970-2023).

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