At the close of business on Tuesday, the debt of the federal government exceeded $15 trillion for the first time–with the largest single owner of the publicly held portion of that debt being the Federal Reserve.
Over the past year, as the Federal Reserve massively increased its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities and entities in China marginally decreased theirs, the Fed surpassed the Chinese as the top owner of publicly held U.S. government debt.
In its latest monthly report, the Federal Reserve said that as of Sept. 28, it owned $1.665 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. That was more than double the $812 billion in U.S. Treasury securities the Fed said it owned as of Sept. 29, 2010.
Meanwhile, as of the end of this September, entities in mainland China owned $1.1483 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, according to data published todayby the U.S. Treasury Department. That was down slightly from the $1.1519 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities the Chinese owned as of the end of September 2010, according to the same Treasury Department report.
Thus, at the end of September 2010, the Chinese owned about $339.9 billion more in U.S. Treasury securities than the Fed owned at that time. By the end of September 2011, the Fed owned about $516.7 billion more in U.S. Treasury securities than the Chinese owned.