Foreign buyers find U.S. Treasuries less appealing

Some overseas investors appear to be taking a pass on U.S. debt securities just as the administration of President Donald Trump embarks on a record sale of Treasury bills, notes and bonds to pay for its big tax cuts and spending increases.

Top foreign holders of Treasuries like China and Japan have shrunk their portfolios of U.S. government bonds this year, and a recent barometer of participation in Treasury auctions suggests overseas buyers have not been showing up in force, according to Treasury Department data.

Some auctions since late October had the weakest foreign participation rates in nearly a decade, a Reuters analysis of U.S. Treasury sales shows. At the same time, auction sizes are rising fast, with bond issuance this quarter projected to set a record of $83 billion after deducting maturing debt.

“We do worry about where demand for Treasuries is going to come from, given the ongoing significant increase in supply,” said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank.

That concern will be on sovereign debt investors’ minds this week with the Treasury scheduled to auction $129 billion in notes with maturities ranging from two to seven years beginning on Monday.

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