China regains spot as largest foreign USA creditor

The China's June figure surpassed Japan's $1.09 trillion of US bonds, notes and bills in the same period, according to latest data from the US Treasury Department on Tuesday. Now it has sold 20.5 billion U.S. dollars and has 1.09 trillion United States dollar treasuries.

Japan had been the largest USA debt holder since October a year ago when it outpaced China.

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The rapid monthly rise saw China emerge as the United States' largest creditor again, after Japan had held that position for the previous eight months. "Maybe they think the dollar is attractive now and they increased those (Treasuries) holdings", said Kevin Lai, chief economist Asia ex-Japan at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

That said, the U.S. Treasury keeps meticulous records on foreign debt holders and says that China has essentially run the table for the last decade. Whatever the reason, with the Chinese yuan more stable against the dollar the Chinese government feels reinvigorated enough to start purchasing US government bonds like never before.

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From the data, the rest of the top five USA creditors by the end of June are Ireland, Brazil and Cayman Islands holding $302.5 billion, $269.7 billion and $254 billion respectively.

While there was speculation in recent years that China would use its massive Treasuries holdings to exert pressure on the United States, there has been little indication of that happening, even amid rising tensions between the two countries on issues ranging from trade to North Korea. The last time China was the top holder was back in last October.

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