China reduced its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in June by the biggest percentage in nearly nine years, according to Reuters historical data and a Treasury Department report issued on Monday.
Even with the Chinese reduction, overall net purchases of U.S. Treasuries totaled $100.53 billion in the month, up from $22.55 billion in sales in May.
Although China, the biggest holder of U.S. Treasuries, sold short-term U.S. bills in June, it subsequently rotated into longer-dated maturities.
China reduced its net holdings 3.1 percent to $776.4 billion in June from $801.5 billion in May. But its June holdings were still larger than April's $763.5 billion and $767.9 billion in March.
There are a lot of new investors coming into the Treasuries market. For example, (U.S.) household holdings of government debt have risen, said William O'Donnell, head Treasury strategist with RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.
China leaves and domestic investors are stepping in. It's a shifting composition of demand, he said.
The drop in China's Treasuries holdings in June was the biggest percentage reduction since a 4.2 percent cut in October 2000, according to Reuters data.
China sold $51.75 billion in U.S. Treasury short-term obligations. But the $25.1 billion drop in net holdings came after the purchase of $26.65 billion in other U.S. debt.
Japan, the second-largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities, increased its holdings to $711.8 billion in June from $677.2 billion in May.
Net overall capital outflows from the United States fell to $31.2 billion in June from the prior month's outflow of $65.7 billion, the Treasury said on Monday. It was the third straight month of outflows.
The U.S. trade deficit for June was $27.01 billion.
Net long-term capital inflows rose to $90.7 billion from a $19.4 billion outflow the prior month.
The data will give confidence to the view that foreigners will play a major role in financing the record public sector deficit at the right price, said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at RBS Securities in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Private overall net outflow was reported at $27.7 billion, down from an outflow of $81.3 billion in May.
Total net foreign purchases of U.S. equities was reported at $19.05 billion. Foreign investors sold a net $1.03 billion in U.S. corporate bonds. (Editing by Dan Grebler)