May 17, 2012 / 12:37 PM / in 6 years

Foreigners sell Canadian securities in March

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities for the second time in three months in March, largely by selling off Canadian treasury bills, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Outsiders’ divestments in Canadian securities hit C$2.08 billion ($2.06 billion) in March compared to an investment of C$12.54 billion in February, which was an almost two-year high.

Non-residents removed a net C$1.47 billion from their holdings of money market instruments, selling off C$3.06 billion of treasury bills while buying federal and provincial government paper.

They also cut bond holdings by C$897 million, a far cry from the C$13.73 billion in purchases seen in February, and invested a modest C$288 million in Canadian stocks.

Canadian investors snapped up C$7.78 billion of foreign securities - the largest amount since April 2007 - with most of the amount accounted for by a C$6.37 billion investment in stocks, itself an almost five-year high.

U.S. shares, which in March hit their highest level since December 2007, accounted for more than 60 percent of Canadian purchases of stocks.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio

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