Foreign holdings of US Treasury debt rose 0.7 percent to record $6.15 trillion in December

Markets Associated Press

Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in December despite investors in China and Japan, the two biggest foreign owners of Treasury debt, cutting back on their holdings.

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The Treasury Department says foreign holdings increased 0.7 percent in December to a record $6.15 trillion following a 0.9 percent increase in November. Total holdings had fallen in both September and October.

China, the No. 1 holder of Treasury debt, trimmed its holdings by 0.5 percent to $1.24 trillion, while Japan, the No. 2 foreign buyer, cut its holdings 0.9 percent to $1.23 trillion. Offsetting those declines, holdings by Britain rose 8.4 percent, while holdings by oil exporting countries rose 2.5 percent.

The expectation is that demand for Treasury securities will remain strong this year.