China Trims U.S. Treasury Holdings in January

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Mar. 18 – China and Japan, the world’s two largest owners of Treasury debt, cut their stakes in U.S. government holdings in January to US$889 billion and US$765.4 billion, respectively.

According to U.S. Treasury Department data released on Monday, this was the third straight month that China has reduced their holdings; off-loading US$5.8 billion in January. Comparatively, Japan cut their holdings by only US$300 million.

Despite these reductions by China and Japan, foreign holdings of U.S. government debt increased overall, albeit by a small amount. Purchases of American financial assets, including long-term equities, bonds, and notes totaled US$19.1 billion for the month compared with US$63.3 billion in December. It was the smallest increase in purchases since July 2009, according to the Treasury Department’s report.