What Countries Owe the US Money in 2019: A Comprehensive List

The United States of America is home to one of the most powerful economies in the world. And with economic success comes a great deal of financial responsibility. Every day, billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services are traded between America and the rest of the world. But did you know that there are certain countries that owe the US money in 2019? You might be surprised to learn exactly which nations are behind on their payments.

In fact, some of these countries may be ones that you never would have guessed. Did you know that Venezuela, for example, has actually been falling behind on payments to American companies and banks for years? Or that Iraq still owes billions of dollars in various debts and reparations to the US? Even some of America’s closest allies, like Germany and Japan, are behind on their payments for various reasons.

These debts can have serious implications for both America and the countries that are in debt. So if you’re curious about exactly which nations owe the US money in 2019, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of these debts, why they exist, and what they mean for the future of the global economy. Whether you’re a seasoned finance professional or just someone who’s curious about the world of international trade, there’s plenty to learn here.

What is foreign debt?

Foreign debt refers to the total amount of money that countries owe to foreign creditors or lenders. This includes all types of loans, bonds, and other forms of debt that a country may have taken from foreign entities, such as foreign governments, international financial institutions, and private investors. Foreign debt can also be referred to as external debt since it represents the debts owed to entities outside of the country’s borders.

Foreign debt is an important indicator of a country’s economic stability and creditworthiness. Countries with high levels of foreign debt may face challenges in meeting their debt obligations, which can lead to economic instability and financial crises. On the other hand, countries with low levels of foreign debt are generally considered to be financially stable and may have better access to credit in the international financial markets.

What is the US national debt?

The US national debt is the total amount of money that the US government owes to its creditors, including individuals, institutions, and foreign governments. It is the accumulated deficit over time, which results from the government’s expenditures exceeding its revenues.

In other words, the national debt is the sum of all outstanding debt obligations owed by the federal government. It’s essential to note that the national debt does not include state and local government debt or private sector debt.

What countries owe the US money in 2019?

  • Japan – $1.072 trillion
  • China – $1.08 trillion
  • Ireland – $296.3 billion

The two countries that top the list of the US’s biggest creditors in 2019 are Japan and China. In recent years, China has edged out Japan as the largest foreign holder of US debt. As of July 2019, Japan held $1.072 trillion in US Treasury bonds and notes, while China held $1.08 trillion. Ireland comes in a distant third, with $296.3 billion in US debt obligations.

How does the national debt affect the US economy?

The national debt has significant economic implications for the US, which can have far-reaching consequences. A high national debt can weigh on economic growth and reduce the living standards of future generations. As the government spends more on paying down the debt, it will have less money to spend on public goods and services. This can lead to increased taxes or reduced spending on vital programs, such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. As a result, the US’s economic and political power may decline, and it may become more challenging to attract foreign investment and maintain a strong dollar.

US National Debt by Year

Year Amount (in trillions of dollars)
2000 5.7
2005 7.9
2010 13.5
2015 18.2
2019 22.7

The US national debt has been growing steadily over time, with the amount owed increasing from $5.7 trillion in 2000 to $22.7 trillion in 2019. This trend is unsustainable in the long run, and the US government must take meaningful action to address the issue. Failure to do so could lead to a debt crisis with severe consequences for the US and the global economy.

How much does each country owe the US?

As of 2019, the total debt owed to the US by foreign countries is nearly $6 trillion. This debt has been accumulated through various means, including loans, purchases of US Treasury bonds, and other financial arrangements.

  • China is the largest foreign holder of US debt, owing over $1.1 trillion.
  • Japan is the second largest holder, with a debt of over $1 trillion.
  • The third largest debtor is Brazil, with a debt of over $305 billion.

The rest of the top ten countries that owe money to the US are:

  • Ireland – $267 billion
  • Switzerland – $227 billion
  • United Kingdom – $215 billion
  • Luxembourg – $182 billion
  • Hong Kong – $172 billion
  • Taiwan – $168 billion
  • India – $151 billion

It’s important to note that many countries similar to the US have significant external debts. In fact, the US is one of the world’s largest borrowers, and it has significant debt with countries like China, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Here’s a breakdown of each country’s foreign debt to the US by country:

Country Debt Owed to US (in billions of dollars)
China 1,112
Japan 1,061
Brazil 305
Ireland 267
Switzerland 227
United Kingdom 215
Luxembourg 182
Hong Kong SAR 172
Taiwan 168
India 151

While the US has a higher debt-to-GDP ratio than most other developed countries, in terms of total debt owed to other countries, the US is still in a relatively strong position. Despite this, many political and economic analysts see the national debt as a significant issue for the US, particularly in the long term.

Historical patterns of countries owing the US money

Throughout history, many countries have borrowed money from the United States to finance various projects and initiatives. While it is not uncommon for countries to owe each other money, the US has consistently ranked as one of the top creditors in the world.

The following are some historical patterns of countries owing the US money:

  • Latin American countries: In the early 20th century, many Latin American countries were heavily indebted to the US due to their reliance on American banks and companies. These debts led to a number of economic and political crises in the region, including the Mexican Debt Crisis of 1982.
  • World War II Allies: During World War II, the US provided significant financial support to its allies through various lending programs. By the end of the war, countries like France and Great Britain owed billions of dollars to the US.
  • Oil-producing countries: In the 1970s, oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait began borrowing heavily from the US to fund infrastructure projects and economic development. These loans were largely paid back in the 1980s, but they helped to establish the US as a major lender in the Middle East.

More recently, China has become one of the largest foreign holders of US debt, with holdings of over $1 trillion. This has led to concerns about the US’s dependency on China and the potential consequences of that relationship.

Country Amount owed to US (in billions)
Japan 1,154.2
China 1,102.2
Ireland 272.5
Brazil 259.2
Switzerland 242.2

As of 2019, Japan and China are the two countries that owe the most money to the US, with Ireland, Brazil, and Switzerland rounding out the top five.

What factors affect a country’s ability to repay its debt to the US?

When a country borrows money from the US, there are several factors that can affect its ability to repay the debt. These factors include:

  • Economic Stability – A country’s economic stability is a critical factor in its ability to repay debt. A stable economy with a positive growth rate gives a country the financial resources to meet its debt obligations.
  • Political Stability – A government’s stability is another crucial factor that affects its ability to repay debt. Countries with unstable governments can face challenges in managing their finances and may struggle to meet their debt payments.
  • Foreign Exchange Rates – A significant swing in currency exchange rates can significantly impact a country’s ability to repay its debt. If a country borrows money in dollars but its currency weakens against the dollar, it will be harder for that country to service its debt.

These factors are closely interlinked, and changes in one can have ripple effects on the others. For example, a political crisis can lead to economic instability and a weakened currency, which can increase the difficulty of repaying debt.

Let’s take a look at the table below that lists the top ten countries by debt owed to the US and how these factors play a role in their ability to repay.

Rank Country Debt Owed (in billions) Economic stability Political stability Foreign exchange rates
1 Japan 1,271.7 Stable Stable Unfavorable
2 China 1,096.6 Stable Unstable Favorable
3 United Kingdom 399.9 Stable Stable Unfavorable
4 Ireland 307.5 Stable Stable Favorable
5 Brazil 283.3 Unstable Unstable Favorable
6 Switzerland 239.4 Stable Stable Unfavorable
7 France 217.3 Stable Unstable Unfavorable
8 India 216.6 Stable Stable Favorable
9 Germany 183.0 Stable Stable Unfavorable
10 Korea 163.4 Stable Stable Unfavorable

As seen in the table, the stability of a country’s economy and government is crucial to their ability to repay debt, with Japan being the largest debtor but also having a stable political and economic situation. Meanwhile, countries like Brazil and France face unstable economic and political environments that can make repaying debt more challenging. Additionally, the exchange rate favors countries like China and India, while working against countries like Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

These factors help to explain why some countries may struggle to meet their debt obligations to the US while others can more easily manage their debt. When considering the risks of lending money to foreign governments, taking into account each country’s economic and political stability, as well as foreign exchange rates, is crucial to managing the risk of default effectively.

How does the US government collect on foreign debts?

When a country defaults on its debt obligations to the US government, various methods can be employed to collect on the debts owed. Debt collection procedures may vary depending on the nature of the debt and the specific country owing the debt. The following is a detailed explanation of some of the most common methods used by the US government to collect on foreign debts:

  • Diplomatic Pressure – In many cases, the US government may use diplomatic pressure to persuade debtor nations to pay their debts. Diplomatic pressure may involve anything from bilateral negotiations to quid-pro-quo exchange agreements that tie debt repayment to other international agreements. The success of these efforts is often dependent on the diplomatic and economic influence of the US government.
  • Asset Seizure – In some cases, the US government may take legal action to seize assets owned by debtor countries within the US. Assets that may be seized include bank accounts, properties, and real estate owned by the foreign government. These claims typically must be brought before a US court, and the collections process can be lengthy and complex.
  • Debt Restructuring – Debt restructuring is a process whereby debtor nations negotiate with their creditors to obtain better repayment terms. These efforts may involve extending the repayment period, reducing the interest rate, or negotiating a debt-for-equity swap. Debt restructuring can be a win-win solution that allows debtor nations to meet their financial obligations while also avoiding default and potential economic disaster.

Other methods that might be utilized by the US government to collect on debt obligations of other nations include:

  • Increased Tariffs or Trade Restrictions – The US government may choose to levy increased tariffs or quotas on goods imported from a debtor nation in an effort to increase pressure for repayment.
  • Denial of Foreign Aid or Military Assistance – The US government may choose to reduce or deny foreign aid to debtor nations or withdraw military assistance agreements in order to force repayment.
  • Lawsuits in US courts – The US may take legal action to recover debt owed by other nations in US courts.

Table 1 below shows some of the countries that owe the US government the most money:

Country Amount Owed (in billions of US Dollars)
Japan 1.29
China 1.10
Canada 0.87
Germany 0.84
United Kingdom 0.32
France 0.28

Despite some failed attempts at debt collection, the US government continues to take a proactive approach in recovering amounts owed by other nations, employing a number of methods with varying degrees of success.

Other countries with significant foreign debt holdings.

Aside from China and Japan, there are other countries with significant foreign debt holdings with the United States. Here are some of them:

  • United Kingdom – Owes the US $368.2 billion in foreign debt.
  • Ireland – Owes the US $283.3 billion in foreign debt.
  • Luxembourg – Owes the US $215.8 billion in foreign debt.

These are just a few of the countries that owe the US money in terms of foreign debt holdings. It is important to note that foreign debt is not always a negative thing. In fact, it can be beneficial for countries to hold foreign debt in order to diversify their holdings and ensure financial stability.

Below is a table showing the top 10 countries with significant foreign debt holdings with the United States:

Country Foreign Debt Holding (billions of US dollars)
China 1,092.3
Japan 1,038.7
United Kingdom 368.2
Ireland 283.3
Brazil 269.6
Luxembourg 215.8
Cayman Islands 210.3
Switzerland 209.3
Hong Kong 206.2
Taiwan 200.9

It is interesting to note that many of these countries are economic powerhouses in their own right, highlighting the fact that foreign debt holdings are not always a reflection of a country’s economic strength.

What countries owe the US money 2019?

Here are some frequently asked questions about which countries owe the US money in 2019:

1. Which countries owe the US the most money?

As of 2019, Japan is the largest foreign holder of US debt, owing $1.12 trillion followed by China with $1.08 trillion. Other countries on the list include Brazil, Ireland, and Switzerland.

2. Why do countries owe the US money?

Countries owe the US money because of the US government’s practice of issuing debt to finance its operations. These debts are then sold primarily in the form of US Treasury bonds to domestic and foreign investors, including other countries.

3. What happens if a country defaults on its debt to the US?

If a country defaults on its debt to the US, it could severely damage the US economy, as the value of US Treasury bonds would plummet, and the world’s economies would be destabilized.

4. Can the US forgive a country’s debt?

Yes, in some cases, the US has forgiven a country’s debt in the past to support economic development or for humanitarian purposes. However, forgiveness of debt usually comes with strings attached, such as strengthening government institutions or promoting democracy.

5. How does debt affect international relations?

Debt can affect international relations when a country that owes money to the US is put under pressure to repay the debt, which could put a strain on diplomatic relations between countries. However, debt can also be used as a bargaining chip in international negotiations and trade deals.

6. Is the US debt owed only by governments?

No, in addition to government debt owed by foreign countries, there is also private debt owed by individuals and businesses. These debts may be in the form of loans or investments in US companies.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has shed some light on which countries owe the US money in 2019. Debt is a complex issue that affects international relations and geopolitics. Stay tuned for more updates and news on this topic. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!