If China ever did call in its debt, it slowly would begin selling off its Treasury holdings. Even at a slow pace, dollar demand would drop. That would hurt China's competitiveness by raising the yuan's value relative to the dollar. At some price point, U.S. consumers would buy American products instead.
First, total US debt is roughly $30 trillion. If China sold all its debt, it is only 3.6% of all outstanding US debt. A shock to the system maybe, on the day it happens, but just a temporary shock, not a death blow. Second, consider what's happened to our budget deficit the last couple of years.
Continuing a trend that began early in 2021, China's portfolio of U.S. government debt in May dropped to $980.8 billion, according to Treasury Department data released Monday. That's a decline of nearly $23 billion from April and down nearly $100 billion, or 9%, from the year-earlier month.
China has steadily accumulated U.S. Treasury securities over the last few decades. As of October 2021, the Asian nation owns $1.065 trillion, or about 3.68%, of the $28.9 trillion U.S. national debt, which is more than any other foreign country except Japan.
For the US, if foreign investors continue dumping US Treasury debt, it will increase the cost of borrowing for the US government, push up the financing cost of US consumers and enterprises, and weaken the prospects of an economic recovery, Zhou said.
There are countries such as Jersey and Guernsey which have no national debt, so the pay no interest. All this started with the Napoleonic wars when the government borrowed money to fund the war.
China's debt is more than 250 percent of GDP, higher than the United States.
Your life savings could be reduced to nothing almost overnight. Your taxes will skyrocket. Your life could be in danger. Your payments from the government will dramatically decrease or stop altogether.
Foreign governments who have purchased U.S. treasuries include China, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, the U.K. and others. China represents 29 percent of all treasuries issued to other countries, which corresponds to $1.18 trillion.
Which Country Owes the Most Money to China? Venezuela is the country with the greatest sovereign debt exposure to China, in terms of direct lending (excluding portfolio holdings), according to AidData's 2021 study, totaling $74.7 billion.
The share of U.S. government debt belonging to China has dropped below $1 trillion — the lowest level in 12 years. China has been a big buyer of U.S. debt.
Japan, with its population of 127,185,332, has the highest national debt in the world at 234.18% of its GDP, followed by Greece at 181.78%. Japan's national debt currently sits at ¥1,028 trillion ($9.087 trillion USD).
"China would overtake the United States to become the world's largest economy in nominal US dollar terms by about 2030," the report's authors conclude. "But it would never establish a meaningful lead ... and would remain far less prosperous and productive per person than America, even by mid-century."
From a national perspective, China buys U.S. debt due to its complex financial system. The central bank must purchase U.S. Treasuries and other foreign assets to keep cash inflows from causing inflation.
Can the U.S. Pay Off its Debt? As budget deficits are one of the factors that contribute to the national debt, the U.S. can take measures to pay off its debt through budget surpluses. The last time that the U.S. held a budget surplus was in 2001.
Raising taxes and cutting spending are two of the most popular solutions for reducing debt, but politicians may be hesitant to do both. Diverting spending from the military to other sectors may boost job growth, which could spur consumer spending and help the economy.
Tax Cuts. Large tax cuts passed by Congress during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Donald Trump have played a large part in the subsequent deterioration of government finances and the resulting growth in the national debt.
With no money to pay bills and the inability to borrow to pay down debt, the result can eventually be bankruptcy. To avoid them, Congress has to do something it rarely does these days—agree. In this case, agreement has to be reached on how to fund the government and how to borrow enough money to pay the bills.
What is the current U.S. National Debt amount? The current U.S. debt is $23.3 trillions as of February 2020.
The most immediate impact is that borrowing cost rises for the nation in the international bond market. If the government itself is borrowing at a higher rate, then the corporates also have to borrow at increased rates.
What is global debt? Global debt is borrowing by governments, businesses and people, and it's at dangerously high levels. In 2021, global debt reached a record $303 trillion, according to the Institute of International Finance, a global financial industry association.
As it tried to twist its way out, it announced last week that it would switch to servicing its $40 billion of outstanding sovereign debt in rubles, criticizing a “force-majeure” situation it said was artificially manufactured by the West.