Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Held $52.4 Billion of U.S. Stocks as of June 2015

  • Oil-rich kingdom also had $10 billion of long-term ABS
  • Saudi equities disclosed after Treasuries holdings released

Saudi Arabia held $52.4 billion of U.S. stocks as of June 2015, the U.S. government said, breaking out the kingdom’s assets following the disclosure earlier this month of its holdings of Treasuries.

The figure marked a decline from about $78 billion in June 2014 and was the first annual drop since 2009, according to an annual Treasury Department report on foreign holdings of U.S. securities. In addition to $109 billion of Treasuries, Saudi Arabia held $10 billion of long-term asset-backed securities in June 2015.

The Treasury tallied $184 billion of Saudi holdings of U.S. securities as of June 2015, down from $194 billion in June 2014, the report said. Foreigners held a total of about $6.7 trillion of U.S. equities, with Cayman Islands the largest listed holder at $884 billion, according to the Treasury. The country attribution is imperfect because the figures don’t necessarily reflect the true ownership of securities held in a custodial account in a third country, the report said.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Bloomberg News, the Treasury broke out Saudi Arabia’s holdings for the first time this month. The kingdom has $587 billion of foreign reserves, suggesting dollar assets may be well below the two-thirds that central banks typically keep in the currency. Some analysts speculate that Saudi Arabia may be masking its U.S. debt holdings by accumulating Treasuries through offshore financial centers, which show up in the data of other countries.

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