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China, Saudi Arabia trim holdings of US Treasury debt

WASHINGTON – The government says foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose in March, with the Treasury Department revealing for the first time in four decades how much Saudi Arabia owns.

The report, which Treasury issues monthly, says that total holdings increased 0.8 per cent to $6.29 trillion. The figure climbed even though China, the largest holder of Treasury debt, trimmed its portfolio by 0.6 per cent to $1.24 trillion.

For the first time since 1974, when the government began releasing data on foreign ownership of Treasury securities, the report broke out ownership for specific countries that it had always lumped together such as “oil exporting nations” and “Caribbean banking centres.”

The report shows that Saudi Arabia in March held $116.8 billion in Treasury debt, down 2.5 per cent from February.