May 17, 2018 / 12:47 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Foreign investment in Canadian securities rose in March

(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA, May 17 (Reuters) - Foreign investment in Canadian securities picked up in March as investors purchased money market instruments, even as they reduced their bond holdings for a fourth consecutive month, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Non-residents bought a net C$6.1 billion ($4.8 billion) in Canadian securities in the month, up from C$4.3 billion in February.

Investors picked up C$6.3 billion in money market instruments, including private corporate and provincial government paper.

But foreigners cut their holdings of Canadian bonds by C$690 million, driven by a record C$13.6 billion reduction in holdings of federal government bonds. The decline was offset by a C$11.3 billion purchase of private corporate bonds.

At the same time, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by C$1.9 billion, the first divestment in four months.

Canadians sold C$10.5 billion in foreign shares, including U.S. and non-U.S. foreign shares. U.S. stock prices were down 2.7 percent in March, the statistics agency said.

But Canadians bought C$7.1 billion in foreign bonds. The differential between U.S. and Canadian long- and short-term rates widened in March to favor U.S. investments, the report said. ($1=$1.2778 Canadian)

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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