Foreign demand for long-term U.S. financial assets fell in April as both China and Japan trimmed their holdings of Treasury securities.
The Treasury Department said Monday that net purchases of stocks, notes and bonds obtained by foreigners fell to $11.2 billion in April, from $55.4 billion in March.
China, the largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities, trimmed their holdings to $763.5 billion in April, from $767.9 billion in March. Japan, the second largest holder of Treasury securities, reduced their holdings to $685.9 billion, from $686.7 billion a month earlier.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner traveled to Beijing earlier this month to assure the Chinese government that the Obama administration is determined to get control of an exploding U.S. budget deficit, which is projected to hit a record $1.84 trillion this year.
China’s holdings of Treasury securities represent about 10 percent of America’s publicly held debt.
The administration has said while its aggressive moves to fight the recession and a severe financial crisis will push up the budget deficit temporarily, it intends to reduce the deficit as soon as the economic situation permits.
With the government’s borrowing needs soaring, there have been some concerns that foreign interest in holding U.S. debt might falter, causing interest rates to rise.
The administration contends that recent increases in the interest rates for U.S. Treasury securities were not a sign of investor unease but a reflection of improving economic conditions.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.