Meet The 15 Loan Sharks Who Have America By The Balls

Hong Kong

American debt has long been considered “risk free.”

But with the deficit blowing out, and sovereign nations around the world crumbling, more and more are wondering just how safe our debt actually is.

Hopefully, any real crisis is a long way off, or will never happen.

But, just in case, we’ve put together a guide of who holds US debt, and what might trigger them to hit the SELL button

See America’s 15 biggest lenders>

15. Russia: $128.1 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Two words: Cold war 2.0. Should Russia and China team up, the U.S. is in trouble. In fact, Hank Paulson has even said that Russia encouraged China to dump GSE assets during the crisis.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

14. Depository Institutions: $145.4 billion

Nightmare Scenario: A run on the banks occurs, S&Ls are bailed out left and right by the FDIC and are forced to liquidate U.S. debt to pay depositers.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

13. Hong Kong: $146.2 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Hong Kong follows China's path and realises it needs to diversify away from US debt.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

12. Brazil: $157.1 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Brazil's rural banking system collapses, as regulators realise billions in bad loans were made to first-time borrowers unable to pay them back.

Source: GlobalShift

11. Insurance Companies: $162.2 billion

Nightmare Scenario: A banking collapse hits insurance companies, which are big holders of bank debt. In turn they liquidate government debt.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

10. Caribbean Banking centres - $179.8 billion

Nightmare Scenario: New laws disclose offshore assets, chaos ensues; the banks are forced to liquidate their debt and shut down.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

9. Oil Exporter Nations: $187.7 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Amid rising geopolitcal tension, these countries use bond and debt sales as a weapon.

(List includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria)

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

5. Mutual Funds: $694.5 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Instead of taking on more U.S. debt, fund managers shun their own country and buy up BRIC and EM debt instead.

Image: Wikipedia

Source: GlobalShift

4. Japan: $757.3 billion

Nightmare Scenario: Japan's economy collapses and it liquidates its holdings to help the situation. U.S. debt becomes illiquid and virtually worthless as everyone rushes to sell it off.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

3. Mainland China: $789.6 billion

Nightmare Scenario: China massively diversifies away from US dollars as a way of punishing the US for arm sales to Taiwan. Ramifications are huge.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

Other: Federal Reserve and Intragovernmental Holdings: $5.127 trillion and rising*

Nightmare Scenario: The Fed actually decides to get 'independent' and refuses to go along with reckless spending.

*Note: Intragovernmental holdings including government liabilities such as social security, and so this number technically is different from the others.

Image: TBI

Source: GlobalShift

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