OTTAWA, July 16 (Reuters) - Foreign investors sold their holdings of Canadian securities in May in the first reduction this year, led by a decrease in equities, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.
Non-residents sold C$5.45 billion ($4.21 billion) in Canadian assets. Holdings in Canadian stocks decreased by C$5.66 billion as cross-border merger and acquisition activity saw non-resident portfolio investors give up their shares to foreign direct investors.
The decline was tempered by foreign purchases of Canadian shares on the secondary market worth C$2.2 billion.
Foreign investment in Canadian bonds was muted, with an increase of just C$514 million as the sale of government bonds was offset by the purchase of corporate bonds.
Canadians, on the other hand, bought C$5.58 billion in foreign securities, the second consecutive month of increases. Canadians increased their equities positions by C$3.87 billion, with purchases split between U.S. stocks and other foreign shares.
Canadian purchases of foreign bonds slowed to C$1.39 billion.
$1=$1.2940 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr Editing by W Simon