April 16, 2013 / 1:02 PM / in 5 years

Foreigners divest Canadian securities in February

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by C$6.3 billion ($6.2 billion) in February due to the biggest divestment of the nation’s equities since October 2007, because of merger and acquisition activity, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

Canadian investors, for their part, acquired C$4.4 billion in securities abroad, mainly bonds, during the month.

“Canadian investment in foreign securities has exceeded foreign investment in Canadian securities in three of the last four months,” the federal agency said in a report.

Nonresident portfolio investors had added C$14.32 billion in Canadian securities in January. Their divestment in February was due largely to the sale of C$11.6 billion worth of shares as part of corporate takeovers or mergers.

Foreigners bought C$8 billion in bonds during the month, targeting mainly short-term bonds issued by the federal government and its enterprises. They sold money market paper worth C$2.8 billion.

Canadian investors added C$3.8 billion in foreign bonds to their holdings in February, returning to the U.S. government bond market after divestments in January.

Canadian purchases of foreign stocks was a mild C$0.4 billion as pension fund investments in U.S. stocks were tempered by sales of non-U.S. stocks.

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

Reporting by Louise Egan and Alex Paterson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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