UPDATE 1-U.S. has long-term overall capital inflow in Feb

(Adds analyst comment, report details)

By Steven C. Johnson

NEW YORK, April 15 (BestGrowthStock) – Foreign purchases of U.S.
securities rose in February, the Treasury Department said on
Thursday, as strong private sector demand helped reverse an
overall capital outflow suffered during the prior month.

China remained the largest holder of U.S. government debt,
though total holdings fell by $11.5 billion in February as the
country did not renew some short-term debt which matured during
the month.

Foreign investors bought a net $47.1 billion of long-term
U.S. securities in February, more than twice January’s
downwardly revised inflow of $15 billion, Treasury said.

Foreigners increased long-term Treasury holdings by $48.1
billion, the biggest component of overall long-term security
purchases.

Overseas buyers increased U.S. equities holdings by $12.9
billion. They remained net sellers of corporate bonds to the
tune of $12 billion, though that was half January’s net
corporate debt outflow of $24.6 billion.

Overall inflows, including short-term securities such as
Treasury bills, also improved, with foreigners buying a net $9
billion after selling a net $10.2 billion the prior month.
January’s net outflow was initially reported at $33.4 billion.

“The report today reflected stronger-than-expected net
inflows helping to provide support for the U.S. dollar despite
the fed zero interest rate policy,” said Michael Woolfolk,
senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.

“One of the things that the report also reflects is that
the net selling of U.S. deposits and short dated securities
continues.”

PRIVATE BUYERS EAGER, CHINA NEAR SATURATION POINT?

Indeed, private investors were most active, snapping up
$52.2 billion of long-term securities compared with only $1.2
billion bought by central banks and other official
institutions.

Including short-term instruments, official accounts were
net sellers to the tune of $21.0 billion.

While China bought a net $4.4 billion in long-term Treasury
debt in February, its overall holdings declined slightly for a
fifth straight month.

While it’s $15.9 billion in sales of bills and deposits
represents “a

Given China’s large stash of Treasuries, “it’s not in their
interest to be an aggressive seller,” said Alan Ruskin, chief
international strategist at RBS Securities.

“Nonetheless, it does seem China is at least coming close
to a saturation point as far as Treasuries are concerned, at
least at current yields,” he said.

The benchmark U.S. Treasury 10-year note (US10YT=RR: ) rose
briefly above 4 percent this month but has since eased to 3.88
percent.

Russia, the ninth-largest U.S. Treasury debt holder, has
also decreased overall holdings for five months.

“The good news is there are a lot of other sources of
Treasury buying, so I wouldn’t get too worried from a current
account financing standpoint,” Ruskin added. “It’s clear the
U.S. can find substantial funds from other sources.”

Analysts said some private sector buying may have been
influenced by Greece’s debt crisis and may have caused some
global investors to shy away from exposure to the euro.

The European Union has since agreed, in conjunction with
the International Monetary Fund, to terms on a $40 billion
emergency aid package that Greece can tap should it find itself
unable to raise money in global capital markets.

For a table of the capital flow data, see [ID:nTRU002462]

Investing Basics

(Additional reporting by Nick Olivari; Editing by W Simon )

UPDATE 1-U.S. has long-term overall capital inflow in Feb