Foreign holdings fell during debt ceiling talks

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | August 15, 2011 | 9:44 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign investors cut their holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in June for the first time in nearly a year. The decline came at a time of anxiety about whether the United States would raise its borrowing limit.

China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury debt, increased its investment for a third straight month. But Japan, the second-largest buyer, along with Brazil, Russia, Hong Kong, and a group that includes the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Netherlands and the Cayman Islands cut their investments. Overall foreign holdings dropped 0.4 percent to $4.5 trillion. That's the lowest level since August 2010.

Congress and the Obama administration approved an increase in the borrowing limit on Aug. 2, hours before the U.S. faced a potential default on its debt.