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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 1:27 pm

Foreign holdings of US Treasury debt dip in August

By MARTIN CRUTSINGERAP Economics Writer

Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell for a fifth consecutive month, suggesting some buyers may have been worried about the impact of budget fights in Washington.

The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings declined 0.1 percent in August, compared to July, to $5.59 trillion. Holdings have declined $133 billion since hitting a record high in March.

China, the largest foreign holder of Treasury debt, trimmed its purchases by 0.9 percent in August to $1.27 trillion while Japan, in second place, raised its purchases by 1.2 percent to $1.15 trillion.

Erik Johnston, senior economist at IHS Global Insight, said U.S. securities have become less appealing over the past few months because of the budget wrangling in Washington which triggered "another close call with the debt ceiling."