Cayman Islands, United Kingdom, and Japan lead as source of foreign securities held by the United States

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury

Washington – The findings from the annual survey of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at year-end 2019 were released today and posted on the Treasury web site at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Pages/shcreports.aspx

The survey was undertaken jointly by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 

A complementary survey measuring foreign holdings of U.S. securities is also conducted annually.  Data from the most recent such survey, which reports on securities held at end-June 2020, are currently being processed.  Preliminary results are expected to be reported on February 26, 2021.

OVERALL RESULTS

This survey measured the value of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities at year-end 2019 as approximately $13.1 trillion, with $9.5  trillion held in foreign equity, $3.1 trillion held in foreign long-term debt securities (original term-to-maturity in excess of one year), and $0.5 trillion held in foreign short-term debt securities.  The previous such survey, conducted as of year-end 2018, measured U.S. holdings of approximately $11.3 trillion, with $7.9 trillion held in foreign equity, $2.9 trillion held in foreign long-term debt securities, and $0.5 trillion held in foreign short-term debt securities.  The increase in 2019 was mainly in equity (see Table 1).

U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities by country at the end of 2019 were the largest for the Cayman Islands ($2.00 trillion), followed by the United Kingdom ($1.52 trillion), Japan ($1.15 trillion), and Canada ($1.10 trillion) (see Table 2).  These four countries attracted 44 percent of total U.S. portfolio investment, versus 45 percent the previous year.
The surveys are part of an internationally coordinated effort under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to improve the measurement of portfolio asset holdings.

TABLE 1.  U.S. HOLDINGS OF FOREIGN SECURITIES, BY TYPE OF SECURITY, AS OF SURVEY DATES [1]

(Billions of dollars)

Type of SecurityDecember 31, 2018December 31, 2019
   
Long-term Securities10,79312,617
            Equity7,8999,478
            Long-term debt2,8943,139
Short-term debt securities502470
Total11,29513,087

U.S. PORTFOLIO INVESTMENT BY COUNTRY

Table 2.  Market value of U.S. portfolio holdings of foreign securities, by country and type of security, for countries attracting the most U.S. investment, as of December 31, 2019 [1]

(Billions of dollars)

Country or categoryTotalEquityDebt
TotalLong-termShort-term
Cayman Islands2,000,8011,501,486499,315494,4794,836
United Kingdom1,517,1651,013,549503,616411,51092,106
Japan1,147,091926,921220,171164,22555,946
Canada1,097,840592,702505,138394,631110,507
France661,756468,257193,499167,97425,525
Ireland647,745560,50887,23778,2369,001
Switzerland596,729551,90144,82842,1952,633
Netherlands572,862370,537202,324188,33613,988
Germany467,164380,90786,25770,43715,820
Australia366,041201,612164,429120,58943,840
Bermuda274,844239,41235,43135,39734
Korea, South231,202211,61519,58819,354234
China, mainland (1)222,282204,25218,03015,1972,833
Taiwan214,872214,80369690
India200,659185,10715,55214,5471,005
Brazil197,708168,53029,17828,624554
Hong Kong180,713170,8349,8797,2192,660
Spain162,493115,11247,38144,2103,171
Luxembourg156,69381,25175,44271,9233,519
Sweden155,408110,17245,23529,85215,383
Rest of world2,015,2931,208,546806,748740,46666,282
Total13,087,3619,478,0143,609,3473,139,470469,877

*     Greater than zero but less than $500 million.

Items may not sum to totals due to rounding.

[1] The stock of foreign securities for December 31, 2019, reported in this survey may not, for a number of reasons, correspond to the stock of foreign securities on December 31, 2018, plus cumulative flows reported in Treasury’s transactions reporting system.  An analysis of the relationship between the stock and flow data is available in Exhibit 4 and the associated text of “U.S. Portfolio Holdings of Foreign Securities as of End-December 2019.”

[2] China, Hong Kong, and Macau are all reported separately.

Federal Reserve reduces minimum loan size for credit facilities designed to help small businesses during pandemic …

Source: Federal Reserve

“The Federal Reserve Board on Friday adjusted the terms of the Main Street Lending Program in two important ways to better target support to smaller businesses that employ millions of workers and are facing continued revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic. In particular, the minimum loan size for three Main Street facilities available to for-profit and non-profit borrowers has been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000 and the fees have been adjusted to encourage the provision of these smaller loans. The Board and Department of the Treasury also issued a new frequently asked question clarifying that Paycheck Protection Program loans of up to $2 million may be excluded for purposes of determining the maximum loan size under the Main Street Lending Program, if certain requirements are met, which should also help smaller businesses access Main Street loans.

The Main Street Lending Program supports lending to small and medium-sized for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the COVID-19 pandemic but lack access to credit on reasonable terms. To allow borrowers time to recover from the pandemic, the program offers several five-year loan options, with deferred principal and interest payments for qualified businesses and nonprofits. Loan documents reflecting the new terms are expected to be available to registered lenders within the next week.

To date, the Main Street program has made almost 400 loans totaling $3.7 billion, providing support to businesses from a wide range of industries. The program was established with the approval of the Treasury Secretary and with $75 billion in equity provided by the Treasury Department from the CARES Act.” — Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

For media inquiries, call 202-452-2955.

High points from Federal Reserve vice-chair Richard Clarida show how Biden will play economy in 2023 …

News and Analysis

Yesterday, vice-chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Richard Clarida, reiterated the Federal Reserve’s call for continued stimulus spending to reboot an American economy severely slowed down by a government-ordered commercial lockdown resulting from efforts to stem the virality of Covid-19. In describing combined fiscal and monetary efforts to reboot the economy, Mr Clarida shared the following:

“Although spending on many services continues to lag, the rebound in the GDP data has been broad based across indicators of goods consumption, housing, and investment. These components of aggregate demand have benefited from robust fiscal support—including the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded unemployment benefits—as well as low interest rates and efforts by the Federal Reserve to sustain the flow of credit to households and firms. In the labor market, about half of the 22 million jobs that were lost in the spring have been restored, and the unemployment rate has fallen since April by nearly 7 percentage points to 7.9 percent as of September.”

Mr Clarida challenged naysayers who had argued that interest rate cuts, asset purchases, and loan programs would not facilitate growth in gross domestic product by reminding them that the unemployment rate has fallen almost seven percentage points since April and that the labor market has replaced almost half of the 22 million jobs lost last spring. But even at this rate of progress, Mr Clarida made it clear that it may take another year before the American economy gets back to its previous 2019 peak.

The Federal Reserve’s decision to modify its inflation target policy, where inflation may be allowed to run moderately over two percent and federal funds rates remaining relatively unchanged (0 to .25%) over the next three years, is expected to result in an unemployment rate of four percent and inflation returning to two percent.

Assuming the polls hold and Joe Biden is able to take over the Oval Office on 20 January 2021, a first glance expectation is that Mr Biden will pursue spending bills that, in addition to increases in transfer payments, will increase pools of public capital available for access by private firms or private-public partnerships. Mr Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative appears, in theory, to call for creating these opportunities.

One potential area for increasing pools of public capital is the financing of energy infrastructure projects. According to language from his campaign platform:

“Biden will immediately invest in engines of sustainable job creation – new industries and re-invigorated regional economies spurred by innovation from our national labs and universities; commercialized into new and better products that can be manufactured and built by American workers; and put together using feedstocks, materials, and parts supplied by small businesses, family farms, and job creators all across our country.”

Mr Biden may not have much re-creating the wheel to do. The United States Department of Energy has a number of financing programs in place that can be used to finance these endeavors. For example, the federal government offers what it calls a “Small Business Toolbox” that helps small businesses, no matter their experience level with government contracting, navigate the requirements for financing.

Mr Biden will have to finance these procurement programs so that these programs can turn around and finance the private companies ready to carry out the federal government’s energy infrastructure agenda. If the Federal Reserve remains on its modified inflation glide path, Mr Biden will have three fiscal years of low interest rates to borrow the funds necessary for his energy infrastructure plans and create the collateral employment of labor that may come along with it.

Mr Biden is likely praying that the “blue wave” narrative, where the Democratic Party sweeps the White House and the Congress, comes to fruition in November. With both chambers of Congress under Democratic control, there may be greater ease at delivering the necessary government financing for his initiatives. If he learned anything from the Obama administration’s first term in office, it is the need to move fast during his first two years to secure the necessary spending bills.

If Mr Biden does not get the “blue wave” then he will have to apply his ‘across the aisle” skills to get Republican senators to buy into his infrastructure plan.

Meanwhile, America is going through a structural employment shift, one that many wage earners will not recover from. Shrinking tax bases due to lower labor force participation and increased tax bills for those who are still working but making less money doth not make a certain second term.