Daniel Kruger
July 14, 2008

Petroleum-exporting nations from Saudi Arabia to Russia are not only charging Americans record high prices for fuel, they are also poised to become the biggest creditor to the U.S. government.

Holdings of Treasuries by oil producers and institutions such as U.K. banks that are proxies for Middle East nations rose 44 percent this year to $510.8 billion through April, four times faster than the rest of the world, according to the Treasury Department’s most recent data. At the current pace, they’ll surpass Japan, which holds $592.2 billion, as the largest owner this month.

While the investment of so-called petrodollars into government debt is helping to temper a rise in borrowing costs as the U.S. finances a record budget deficit, it highlights America’s dependence on foreign money. New York’s Chrysler Building was bought last week by Middle East investors.

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