Saudi Treasury Holdings Detailed for the First Time in Decades
After four decades of secrecy, the Treasury Department has released a report including Saudi Arabia’s holdings of treasury securities. Bloomberg reports:
The stockpile of the world’s biggest oil exporter stood at $116.8 billion as of March, down almost 6 percent from a record in January, according to data the Treasury disclosed Monday in response to a Freedom-of-Information Act request. The tally ranks Saudi Arabia among the top dozen foreign nations in terms of holdings of U.S. debt, and compares with China’s $1.3 trillion trove, and $1.1 trillion for Japan.
Yet the disclosure may bring more questions than answers, because Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves amount to $587 billion, and central banks typically put about two-thirds of their coffers in dollars, according to International Monetary Fund data.
In a sign that Treasury’s figures on the kingdom’s ownership fall short of the full tally, the New York Times reported last month that Saudi officials threatened to sell $750 billion of Treasuries and other assets in the U.S. if Congress enacts a bill allowing the monarchy to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
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“Conversation: Mutual Dependence Protects Saudi-U.S. Ties is republished with permission of Stratfor.”