OTTAWA, May 18 (Reuters) - Foreign investors bought a net C$17.17 billion ($13.25 billion) in Canadian securities in March, the largest monthly investment in nearly a year as investors picked up corporate debt and equities, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.
It was the third month in a row that non-residents have increased their purchases of Canadian securities. For the first quarter, the economy saw a record net inflow of funds of C$52.8 billion.
Foreigners bought C$8.10 billion in Canadian bonds in March, with investment entirely in corporate bonds as holdings of federal and provincial government bonds were reduced.
Non-residents also picked up C$6.76 billion in Canadian equities, the largest since March last year, as the Canadian stock market climbed.
Canadian investors bought C$2.27 billion in foreign securities, though that was down from C$4.37 billion in February. Purchases were concentrated in bonds, where investment totaled C$2.47 billion.
Still, the Canadians' sell-off in foreign securities in January resulted in a divestment of C$8.32 billion for the first quarter, the highest quarterly divestment since the end of 2008 when markets were roiled by the global financial crisis.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr Editing by W Simon