From The Financial Times:
During the past few years the US has become dependent, not so much on millions of investors around the globe but on a few individuals in a few of the world’s central banks.
In 2003, the most recent year with full international statistics, central banks financed 83 per cent of the US current account deficit, with Asian central banks accounting for 86 per cent of flows.
A similar picture is emerging for 2004. … The People’s Bank of China has let it be known that China increased dollar reserves by $207bn (€159bn) in 2004, financing nearly a third of the US current account deficit, estimated at $650bn.
Self-interest has supported much of this flow of cash. The US has lapped up cheap finance to fund its unquenchable appetite to spend. Asian governments have until now been keen to oblige, in order to keep their currencies from appreciating. But all investors have their limits and they may start worrying about their degree of exposure.
If new official flows to the US were to be curtailed, the dollar would plunge, creating a huge hole in the accounts of central banks holding dollars.
P.S. We should hit 1/2 million visits some time today.