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US Gross External Debt

from Jorge Buzaglo


Source: US Department of the Treasury

According to the Treasury department, US gross external debt was, in June 2013, 16 trillion dollars — about 100% of GDP. Since 2003, the earliest data posted by the Treasury, the trend-exponential rate of growth was over 8% per year. The figure shows a decline in the rate of growth of the debt since the crisis of 2007-08, but it is still growing, in spite of GDP stagnation, mainly because of an irreducible US trade deficit of about half a trillion dollars per year. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the US Department of Commerce normally posts longer historical series of both gross and net foreign debt (international investment position), but presently, as it states: “Due to the lapse in government funding, http://www.bea.gov will be unavailable until further notice. This includes access to all data and the e-File system.”

  1. October 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    FAR more informative is the fourth chart here:

    • Jorge Buzaglo
      October 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      The figure above represents US foreign debt, not US government debt (as in patrick.net etc.). In the context of the debt crises of developing countries, external debt-to-GDP ratios
      above 0.5 were considered critical values above which the risk of payments’ crises increased drastically.

  2. Podargus
    October 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Is the debt in US dollars or a foreign currency?
    If the later then you have a problem.If the former then it is more of an accounting issue.

  3. Garrett Connelly
    October 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    The economist must learn to harvest from distributed intelligence, this the information age, the earliest hint of Aquarian Dawn.

    Debt is not an economics problem, everyone knows how to manage it with inflation.

    The real problem with public debt, especially for nonsensical eternal war, it undermines democracy by avoiding the ire of living voters.

    • October 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Excellent point re. ‘ire’, never heard that before! I guess that the assets’ overpricings included here by me
      The Public Be Suckered
      do some similar fooling of voters.

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