China has ceded its position as the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries to Japan after occupying top spot for 15 months, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua said, citing the U.S. Treasury Department. Chinese experts have long argued that China had invested too heavily in U.S. Treasury notes at a time that the U.S. authorities had injected huge sums of money into the national economy to ease the credit crunch and spur recovery from the country's worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
The anti-crisis measures taken by the administration of President Barack Obama have caused fears of inflation growth in the world's largest economy and, as a result, devaluation of investment in U.S. securities. U.S. Treasury Department figures showed that Chinese holdings dropped $34.2 billion or 4.3% from April to December 2009 to $755.4 billion while Japanese exposure grew 1.5% to $768.8 billion, making Japan the largest creditor of the U.S. government.
Over the same period, Britain increased its holdings of the U.S. government debt to $302.5 billion from $277.6 billion, Brazil to $160.6 billion from $157.1 billion while Russia trimmed its investment $9.6 billion to $118.5 billion. On February 1, the United States released a new budget plan projecting a record $1.6 trillion deficit for the 2010 fiscal year.