(Reuters) - Foreigners bought U.S. Treasuries for the first time in four months in March, suggesting a pause in their flight from U.S. government debt into stocks and other riskier U.S. assets, data from the U.S. Treasury department showed on Monday.
Foreign investors bought $24.39 billion in Treasuries in March, compared with a revised $13.5 billion in sales in February.
Private overseas investors bought $32.97 billion in Treasuries in March, but foreign official institutions sold $9.15 billion.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR rose a modest 4 basis points to 2.40 percent at the end of March after the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by a quarter point and markets gyrated on President Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress struggling with their first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Japan held its status as the largest non-U.S. holder of U.S. Treasuries at $1.12 trillion in March, up marginally from February.
China was closely behind Japan with $1.09 trillion, up from a $1.06 trillion.
Overall, offshore investors purchased $59.8 billion in long-term U.S. assets in March after buying a revised $53.1 billion the preceding month.
However, they ended up being net sellers of U.S. assets with the inclusion of shorter-dated securities, totaling $700 million in March. This compared with a revised $13.2 billion in purchases in February.
Overseas purchases of U.S. stock decelerated in March to $876 million from $18.83 billion in February.
They also scaled back their accumulation of U.S. corporate bonds in March, slowing to $6.59 billion from February’s $17.59 billon, which was the most since last August.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Chris Reese