Of the roughly $16 trillion of outstanding U.S. government debt, more than one-third ($5.5 trillion dollars) is held by foreigners. That marks a dramatic change since 2001 when only 17 percent was held by foreigners. Put differently, of the $10 trillion in U.S. government debt added over the past 10 years, 44 percent has been purchased by foreigners. China, for example, currently holds over $1 trillion of U.S. debt, up from just $79 billion a decade ago.
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