Foreigners unload Canadian securities in January

Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:45am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities in January by C$4.2 billion ($4.2 billion), halting a six-month buying spree primarily by dumping short-term federal treasury bills, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Foreigners had acquired some C$55 billion in securities in the second half of 2011. Statscan revised the net foreign investment in securities in December to C$8.2 billion from C$7.4 billion previously.

Non-Canadians sold C$4.6 billion worth of short-term money market paper in the month. Their purchases of Canadian bonds slowed markedly to C$1.9 billion from C$3.1 billion in the previous month.

Foreign investors made their biggest divestment of Canadian stocks since November 2008, offloading C$1.4 billion in January as equities prices rose 4.2 percent.

Canadians, for their part, continued to invest in foreign securities for the ninth consecutive month, but at a slower rate, buying C$1.3 billion compared with C$2.8 billion in December.

Canadians added C$3.4 billion in foreign stocks to their portfolios and sold debt instruments.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

(Reporting By Louise Egan and Ora Morison; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)