Unexpectedly Intriguing!
14 August 2019

Not long ago, we looked at foreign ownership of U.S. stocks, which raised a question from our readers: "How much of the world's stocks do U.S. investors own?"

We don't have a specific answer for that question, because the U.S. Treasury Department groups equities, such as stocks, in with debt having a term-to-maturity of one year or longer into the category of long-term securities in its data on the topic, where the question we can answer is "how much of the world's long-term securities do U.S. investors own?"

In the following interactive graphic, we show the answer recorded at the end of June for each year from 2002 through 2018. [If you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to access a fully working version on our site, or click this link to see a static image of that chart.]

In the chart, we've compared apples-to-apples as best we can, showing the values of foreign long-term securities owned by U.S.-based investors against the backdrop of the value of U.S. long-term securities held by foreign interests.

Reviewing the history, we see that U.S. holdings of foreign long-term securities as a percent share of foreign holdings of U.S. long-term securities rose from 54% in 2002 to peak at 70% in 2007 before plunging to a low of 54% in 2010. Through 2018, it has recovered to 63% of the value of foreign-held U.S. long-term securities.


U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities, as of June 29, 2018. [PDF Document]. 15 May 2019.

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