China, the largest foreign investor in U.S. government securities, joined Russia in criticizing American policy makers for failing to ensure borrowing is reined in after a stopgap deal to raise the nation’s debt limit.
People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said China’s central bank will monitor U.S. efforts to tackle its debt, and state-run Xinhua News Agency blasted what it called the “madcap” brinksmanship of American lawmakers. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said two days ago that the U.S. is in a way “leeching on the world economy.”
The comments reflect concern that the U.S. may lose its AAA sovereign rating after President Barack Obama and Congress put off decisions on spending cuts and tax increases to assure enactment of a boost in borrowing authority. China and Russia, holding a total $1.28 trillion of Treasuries, have lost nothing so far in the wake of a rally in the securities this year.
“It’s probably frustration more than anything else for China,” said Brian Jackson, a senior strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong. While the nation has concerns, “they realize there’s not a lot of options for them out there and so they need to keep buying Treasuries.”
China held $1.16 trillion of Treasuries as of May, U.S. Treasury Department data show. The nation has accumulated the holdings as a by-product of holding down the value of its currency, a policy U.S. officials have said gives China an unfair advantage in trade.