This Great Graphic was generated on Bloomberg. It depicts Belgium's US Treasury holdings, according to US data. It shows that Belgium's holdings have soared in recent months. As recently as August, it had about $167 bln of US Treasuries.
Data just reported shows its holdings in February jumped another $30.9 bln to $341.2 bln. It is the third largest holder of US Treasuries, behind China and Japan.
We suspect this does not represent a surge of interest from Belgium-based investors. Instead, it appears that the data is picking up the role of Brussels as a financial center. In particular, it is the home of the Euro Clear Settlement hub.
The rise of Belgium's Treasury holdings begs the question then, whose activity does it represent? This might be clearer in revision which, drawn on additional information, has tended to decrease the Treasury holdings attributed to financial centers (such as the UK) and toward the end-buyers (often China and the Middle East oil exporters).
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