(Recasts with foreigners selling Treasuries; adds details,
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, April 17 Foreigners sold Treasuries in
February for a third straight month, data from the U.S. Treasury
department showed on Monday, continuing a trend that has been in
place since Donald Trump's election as president in November.
The U.S. Treasury debt market showed an outflow of $13.5
billion, with both private investors and foreign official
institutions such as central banks selling the country's
"We had a significant change in sentiment on interest rates
and the Federal Reserve, especially toward the end of the month,
because we had good economic data," said Tom Simons, money
market economist, at Jefferies & Co in New York.
"At the same time, nothing negative had come out of
Washington yet and so we were still riding that optimism about
Trump," he added.
Yields on U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes at the
beginning of February were at 2.474 percent, hitting
a high of 2.524 and ending the month at 2.358 percent. On
Monday, U.S. 10-year yields fell as low as 2.187 percent, a
five-month trough. But yields eventually recovered on Monday to
end the day at 2.249 percent.
The data also showed China increased its U.S. Treasury
holdings by roughly $8.6 billion to $1.059 trillion in February,
making it the second-largest non-U.S. holder of U.S. government
debt. China has sold Treasuries in six of the last nine months.
For a fifth straight month, Japan was the largest non-U.S.
holder of U.S. Treasuries, with $1.115 trillion. Japan raised
its Treasury holdings for a second consecutive month.
Overall, foreign central banks boosted their holdings of
U.S. Treasuries to $6.012 trillion in February, from $5.953
trillion a month earlier.
Foreign investors also bought U.S. stocks during the month
to the tune of $19.1 billion up from $15.4 billion in January.
Data also showed offshore investors purchased $53.4 billion
in long-term U.S. assets in February after buying $5.9 billion
the previous month. Net overseas inflows, including
shorter-dated securities, totaled $19.3 billion in February,
down from $121.2 billion in January.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; editing by Dan Grebler
and Lisa Shumaker)