UPDATE 1-Foreigners scale back purchases of Canadian securities in May

Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:21am EDT
 
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* Foreign investment more than halved to C$6.74 billion

* Canadians sell C$1.65 billion in foreign securities

OTTAWA, July 17 (Reuters) - Foreign investors cut their purchases of Canadian securities by 55 percent to C$6.74 billion ($6.48 billion) in May from C$14.91 billion in April, in part due to lower enthusiasm for bonds, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

Canada's solid fiscal position and triple-A debt rating, a rarity among major developed economies, have given it something of a safe-haven status since the financial crisis and helped it to attract international capital flows.

Foreigners bought C$5.54 billion in debt securities, sharply down from C$12.75 billion in April. Purchases of bonds dropped to C$2.04 billion from C$7.77 billion, the lowest monthly amount bought so far in 2013.

"While Canada's relative fiscal superiority and economic outperformance have been factors in driving international portfolio diversification into C$ assets, the allure of Canadian debt has diminished somewhat against a backdrop of rising interest rates," Mazen Issa, Canada macro strategist with TD Securities, said in a note to clients.

Foreigners also bought Canadian shares for the second straight month, snapping up a net C$1.20 billion in equities after C$2.15 billion in April. The Canadian stock market advanced by 1.6 percent in May.

Canadians sold off foreign securities for the first time in four months in May, cutting their portfolios by C$1.65 billion. It was the largest divestment since August, when they sold C$1.68 billion worth.

Canadians sold C$2.17 billion in U.S. shares in May, a month when the U.S. stock market closed at an all-time high.