Foreign Central Banks Jack Up Their US Holdings

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Foreign central banks' overall holdings of U.S. marketable securities at the Federal Reserve rose in the latest week, data from the U.S. central bank showed Thursday.

The Fed said its holdings of U.S.securities kept for overseas central banks rose $4.502 billion in the week ended Dec. 26 to stand at $3.238 trillion.

The breakdown of custody holdings showed overseas central banks' holdings of Treasury debt rose by $8.604 billion to stand at $2.891 trillion.

Foreign institutions' holdings of securities issued or guaranteed by the biggest U.S. mortgage-financing agencies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, fell by $4.148 billion to stand at $311.05 billion.

The Fed said its holdings of so-called "other" securities held in custody and reported at face value rose $45 million to stand at $36.02 billion. These securities include non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities and commercial paper.

Overseas central banks, particularly those in Asia, have been huge buyers of U.S. debt in recent years and own more than a quarter of marketable Treasurys. China and Japan are the biggest foreign holders of Treasurys.