World Economy

Report on China slowing US bond purchases may be 'fake,' regulator says

Key Points
  • Chinese currency regulator says a report may be based on erroneous information
  • China has been diversifying forex reserves investments, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said

A report that China is considering slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds may be based on erroneous information and could be "fake," the country's foreign exchange regulator said on Thursday.

Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that Chinese officials reviewing the country's vast foreign exchange holdings had recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds amid a less attractive market for them and rising U.S.-China trade tensions. The report sent U.S. Treasury yields to 10-month highs and sent the dollar lower.

"The news could quote the wrong source of information, or may be fake news," the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement published on its website.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield edged down to 2.5366 percent from Wednesday's close of 2.549 percent, while the dollar gained 0.3 percent to 111.72 yen after the regulator's comment.

China has been diversifying its foreign currency reserves investments to help "safeguard the overall safety of foreign exchange assets and preserve and increase their value", the SAFE said.

The forex reserves investment in U.S. Treasury bonds is a market activity, with investment professionally managed according to market conditions and investment needs, it said.

The regulator added that forex reserves management agencies are responsible investors in international financial markets.

The exact composition of China's reserves is a state secret and the subject of intense scrutiny by global investors.

According to data from the Treasury Department, the country is the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, with $1.19 trillion in Treasuries as of October 2017.

China's foreign exchange reserves, the world's largest, rose $20.2 billion in December to $3.14 trillion, as tight regulations and a strong yuan continued to discourage capital outflows, data from China's central bank showed.