WASHINGTON (AP) -- China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, trimmed its holdings for a fourth straight month in February and Japan boosted its holdings one month before a devastating earthquake hit the country.
China cut its holdings by $600 million to $1.15 trillion, the Treasury Department reported Friday. Japan, the second-largest foreign holder, boosted its holdings by $4.4 billion to $890.3 billion.
Total foreign holdings increased 0.5 percent to $4.47 trillion. However, as the government moves closer to the $14.3 trillion debt limit, it will have to scale back sales unless Congress moves to raise the limit.
The Treasury borrowing report showed that in February the looming debt ceiling battle was not having an impact on foreign demand for Treasury debt. The 0.5 percent gain in overall holdings that month followed a 0.3 percent increase in January.
After China and Japan, Britain is the third-largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities. The British holdings jumped 63 percent in February to $295.5 billion.