UPDATE 1-Foreigners dump Canadian securities in December

Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:46am EST
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* Foreign investment declines by C$1.9 billion in December

* Selloff of Canadian shares due to merger and acquisition activity

* Canadians focus on U.S. government bonds

OTTAWA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities in December by C$1.9 billion ($1.9 billion), led by the biggest divestment of shares since November 2007 due to cross-border mergers and acquisitions, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

In November, foreigners had added C$5.5 billion in Canadian securities to their portfolios, revised from C$5.6 billion previously.

Nonresidents unloaded C$6.7 billion worth of equities in December as portfolio investors "rendered their Canadian shares to foreign direct investors," Statscan said.

Foreign holdings of Canadian bonds also fell. The C$655 million decline, the first reduction in six months, stemmed from large retirements and coupon payments.

They added C$4.8 billion in debt securities, focused mainly on money market instruments and federal government paper.

In 2012 as a whole, foreigners bought C$83.2 billion in Canadian securities, down from C$97.3 billion in 2011.   Continued...