June 15, 2017 / 8:31 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-China's U.S. bond holdings grew in April, still behind Japan

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(Recasts, adds details on latest data)

June 15 (Reuters) - China increased its ownership of U.S. Treasuries for the third straight month in April to its highest in six months but still ranked behind Japan, which remained the United States' biggest creditor, U.S. Treasury Department data showed on Thursday.

China's holding of U.S. government debt grew to $1.092 trillion in April from $1.088 trillion in March. The April amount was the biggest since $1.116 trillion back in October.

Japan's stake in Treasuries slipped to $1.107 trillion in April from $1.119 trillion in March.

China's Treasuries holdings have risen with its foreign exchange reserves as a result of tough control measures and a falling U.S. dollar which, combined, stemmed capital outflows.

Overall foreigners in April bought the smallest amount of long-term U.S. securities in four months.

Offshore investors purchased $1.8 billion in long-term U.S. assets in April, down sharply from the revised $59.7 billion they bought the prior month.

They were net buyers of U.S. assets with the inclusion of shorter-dated securities, totaling $65.8 billion in April, more than the revised $9.3 billion in net purchases in March. The latest amount was the most they purchased since January's $121.4 billion.

Meanwhile, foreign investors sold $22.53 billion in Treasuries in April, the most since October. This compared with $24.39 billion they bought in March. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)

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