Today, without much fanfare, US debt to GDP hit 101% with the latest issuance of $32 billion in 2 Year Bonds. If the moment when this ratio went from double to triple digits is still fresh in readers minds, is because it is: total debt hit and surpassed the most recently revised Q4 GDP on January 30, or just three weeks ago. Said otherwise, it has taken the US 21 days to add a full percentage point to this most critical of debt sustainability ratios: but fear not, with just under $1 trillion in new debt issuance on deck in the next 9 months, we will be at 110% in no time. Still, this trend made us curious to see who has been buying (and selling) US debt over the past year. The results are somewhat surprising. As the chart below, which highlights some of the biggest and most notable holders of US paper, shows, in the period December 31, 2010 to December 31, 2011, there have been two very distinct shifts: those who are going all in on the ponzi, and those who are gradually shifting away from the greenback, and just as quietly, and without much fanfare of their own, reinvesting their trade surplus in something distinctly other than US paper. The latter two: China and Russia, as we have noted in the past. Yet these are more than offset by... well, we'll let the readers look at the chart below based on TIC data and figure out it.
That the Fed is now actively monetizing US debt is beyond dispute (although some semantic holdouts remain - we are quite happy for them). Alas, with China, which has traditionally been the biggest buyer of US paper, no longer buying Treasurys, we are confident that the Fed will have no choice but to be dragged kicking and screaming once again into the fray, especially since traditional buyers of paper, even when allowing for exponential repo market leveraging (and someone please look at what is going on in the BoNY, State Street sponsored $15 trillion quicksand of repo'ed securities, which is the biggest black hole in the shadow banking system and will be the next pillar of the ponzi system to collapse) will be unable to keep up with US issuance. Especially since Primary Dealers already saw their Treasury holding rise to an all time high in the past week, and are loaded to the gills with US paper. So who is buying? Why Japan and the UK.
Japan and the UK? Hmm, if these two names sound oddly familiar, allow us to refresh one's memory. Behold the pristine leverage condition of both these two countries, in all its glory.