Global Treasury sales led by Europe in June


Europe led a global retreat from the US Treasury market in June, as the region’s central bank plots a slow retreat away from it bond buying program.

The UK sold the most, shedding $21.1bn in Treasuries over one year in maturity, according to data from the US Treasury on Wednesday. In previous months Russia had sold heavily. Total European sales of Treasuries came to $24.8bn for the month. 

“What is becoming a cause for potential concern is that the data series that represents Euro-area has been a source of selling for months,” said George Goncalves, head of US fixed income strategy at Nomura. 

He added that European-based investors might be shifting capital back to Europe and away from the US as an end to the quantitative easing program by the European Central Bank looms. 

Foreign investors are large holders of US Treasuries, with sales of positions putting upward pressure on US interest rates. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose markedly at the start of June before falling back to end the month close to unchanged at 2.86 per cent. 

Analysts add caution with respect to the figures. The transaction data can be skewed because the figures refer to the location of the trade, rather than the domicile of the holder. 

Elsewhere Brazil and Mexico sold $3.9bn and $4.7bn respectively, and the Cayman Islands, seen as indicative of hedge fund sales, sold $3.5bn. 

China, the largest foreign holder of Treasuries, returned to being a seller in June as well, dumping $8.7bn after purchasing $7bn in May. Japan, the second largest foreign holder, sold $4.4bn. 

Overall, $48.4bn was sold by foreign holders of treasuries, the largest combined selling activity since October 2016. Foreign official institutions accounted for $8.3bn of the selling activity with other investors making up the rest.



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