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China bond holdings steady, but US capital flows down

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 15, 2009
China's holdings of US Treasury bonds held steady in November, according to data Tuesday showing a drop in net purchases of US securities along with a net outflow of capital.

China's holdings remained unchanged in November at 798.9 billion dollars. China is the largest holder of US Treasury bonds, followed by Japan, whose holdings fell to 746.5 billion dollars from, 751.5 billion a month earlier.

Overall, net foreign purchases of US securities, which are largely Treasury bonds but also include other assets such as corporate bonds and equities, amounted to 20.7 billion dollars in the month.

That was less than the figure of 40.7 billion dollars in September and below expectations for 35.5 billion dollars.

Overall international capital flows were a negative 13.9 billion dollars, meaning the amount of assets bought by US residents topped the amount of domestic assets bought by foreigners.

For private investors, the deficit was 32.1 billion dollars, offset in part by an inflow of 18.2 billion dollars from official sources.

Any precipitous drop in capital flows could be problematic for the dollar and for the United States, which needs to fund a massive budget deficit.

Britain, the third largest holder of US bonds, decreased its holdings to 230.7 billion dollars in November from 249.3 billion.

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