With Russia no longer even figuring among the top holders of US Treasurys following two straight months of liquidations in April and May, which brought Moscow’s holdings of US government bonds to virtually nil amid a major push to diversify away from the dollar…
… bond traders were looking to see if the example set by Putin would be copied by another nation in the month of June.
The answer is that, indeed, the month of June saw aggressive selling of long-term US Treasurys, with foreign official (central bank, reserve fund managers) and private investors selling $48.6 billion in Treasurys, the largest one month total since October 2016.
Who were the sellers?
Continuing its trend of gradual divestment, Chinese holdings of US Treasurys dropped by $4.4BN from $1183.1BN to $1178.7BN, a modest drop following last month’s $1.2BN increase.
Perhaps the most notable seller of US paper was Japan, which dumped $18.4BN, bringing its total from 1048.8BN to 1030.4BN, the lowest since October 2011 as Japanese investors sold off US paper as a result of rising hedging costs which made holding European, or even Japanese bonds, more economical.
German holdings also dipped, fro $78.3BN to $71.2BN, with few other notable sellers.
Meanwhile, on the other side, the most aggressive buyer of US paper in June was the Cayman Islands, which is another designation for hedge funds, which increased from $185.5BN to $197.2BN, the highest since November 2017.
Also, the recent “Belgian” buying continued, with custody holder Euroclear adding $4.2BN from $150.5BN to $154.7BN, while the UK added $9BN, bringing its total from $265BN to $$274BN.
In total, total foreign official holdings of US paper dropped from $3.991 trillion in May to $3.988 trillion in June, the lowest in over a year.
Finally, broken down by total assets, foreigners were net sellers of $45.5 billion in US securities in the month of June – the bulk of which was US Treasurys and Equities – the biggest monthly sale since September 2016.