Oil exporting countries not buying more Treasury debt

With oil prices (in dollars) back up to very high levels, the oil exporters’ receipts of dollars have surely increased significantly.  Treasury data on foreign holders of its debt shows that oil exporters’ holdings have been stagnant for the last year; while Japan and China have continued to significantly increase their holdings.

What are the oil exporters doing with their dollars?  Recycling Petrodollars(2006) by the NY Fed suggests that they have been funding(directly or indirectly) the US current account deficit and by extension investment in US asset classes other than Treasury debt.  They are willing to take somewhat more risk than Japan and China.  The NY Fed states that “recycling of petrodollars into the U.S. financial markets has supported activity here by allowing for higher consumption and investment spending than otherwise would have occurred”.

It is plausible that a meaningful portion of petrodollars have been going into gold purchases recently.

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