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2. U.S. Federal Reserve

U.S. debt holdings: $1.659 trillion

One of the biggest holders of U.S. government debt is actually within the United States itself. The Federal Reserve system of banks reports in its most recent balance sheet holdings of $1.659 trillion in U.S. Treasury debt as of May 24, 2012.

The Fed’s balance sheet has expanded considerably since the financial crisis, as the Central Bank looked to stimulate consumer demand and jumpstart the economy by keeping interest rates low and adding liquidity to the market through its purchase of securities, including U.S. Government debt.

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