Foreign holdings of US Treasury debt rise in May

 
 
FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file photo, passers-by use cellphones in front of electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. The Treasury Department on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 reported that total foreign holdings rose 0.3 percent to $5.98 trillion, up from $5.96 trillion in April.
FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file photo, passers-by use cellphones in front of electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. The Treasury Department on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 reported that total foreign holdings rose 0.3 percent to $5.98 trillion, up from $5.96 trillion in April.
Koji Sasahara, File / AP Photo

AP Economics Writer

Foreign buyers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings in May to another record high.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that total foreign holdings rose 0.3 percent to $5.98 trillion, up from $5.96 trillion in April.

China, the top foreign buyer of U.S. Treasury debt, increased its holdings for the first time since January, raising them by 0.6 percent to $1.27 trillion. Japan, the second-biggest foreign buyer, increased its holdings by 0.9 percent to $1.22 trillion.

Russia reduced its Treasury holdings by 4.3 percent to $111.4 billion and well below the recent high of $149.9 billion last October.

Foreign demand for Treasury debt is expected to stay strong this year, helped by a congressional agreement to avoid a fight over the U.S. debt ceiling until March 2015.

A standoff in August 2011 rattled financial markets and the political gridlock led the credit rating firm Standard & Poor's to downgrade its AAA rating of U.S. debt for the first time in history.

The monthly Treasury report showed that holdings by Belgium, the No. 3 investor in U.S. Treasurys, fell 1.1 percent to $362.4 billion. Holdings by the Caribbean banking centers, including the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, rose 0.8 percent to $310.8 billion.

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