December 15, 2017 / 10:21 PM / a year ago

China's U.S. Treasury holdings rise in October: data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries increased in October after declining the previous month, as the world’s second largest economy continued to build its foreign exchange reserves, data from the U.S. Treasury Department showed on Friday.

China’s pool of Treasuries increased to $1.189 trillion in October, from $1.180 trillion the month before. So far, China has added nearly $131 billion in Treasuries since the beginning of the year, data showed, buying the U.S. asset for most of the year except for two months.

“The increase in China holdings is on par with the accumulation of foreign reserves after drawdowns in previous years to support a weakening currency,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rates strategist, at TD Securities in New York.

The Chinese renminbi CNY=CFXS has stabilized this year, gaining 5 percent so far against the dollar, after dropping more than 13 percent the previous three years.

Japan was the second-largest non-U.S. holder of Treasuries, with $1.093 trillion. Its holdings of the U.S. asset have fallen for three straight months. For the month of October, Japan’s holdings were down $2.1 billion.

Global central banks overall increased their holdings of Treasuries to $6.349 trillion in October, from $6.323 trillion the previous month.

Data also showed foreigners sold Treasuries after buying for two consecutive months. Foreign investors sold $22.14 billion in Treasuries, after purchases of $12.74 trillion in September.

The yield on U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR at the beginning of October was 2.337 percent, ending the month at 2.376 percent. On Friday, U.S. 10-year yields were at 2.354 percent.

Foreigners, meanwhile, purchased U.S. stocks to the tune of $12.3 billion in October, buying for a second straight month in a year that saw U.S. equity indexes hit record highs several times. Private investors accounted the bulk of those purchases, or $13.35 billion.

Data also showed that foreign investors bought long-term U.S. securities for a fourth straight month in October.

They purchased $23.2 billion in long-term U.S assets after buying $90.9 billion the previous month. Including shorter-dated securities, overseas investors bought $151.2 billion in October, after selling $42.6 billion in September.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by James Dalgleish and David Gregorio

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