Total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities dipped 0.4 percent in December 2011 to 4.73 trillion U.S. dollars, down from 4.75 trillion dollars in November, the U.S. Treasury Department reported Wednesday.
The figures reflect demand for U.S. Treasury obligations and other assets, including stocks and government agency debt, a key to funding the massive U.S. balance of payments deficit with the rest of the world.
According to the Treasury International Capital report, which measures the monthly demand for U.S. private and government securities, China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities, trimmed its holdings for the third straight month to 1 trillion dollars in December from 1.13 trillion dollars in November.
Japan, the second largest holder of U.S. government debt, raised its holdings from 1.03 trillion dollars in November to 1.04 trillion dollars in December.
Britain, the third largest holder, cut its holdings from 425.9 billion dollars in November to 414.8 billion dollars in December.