Foreign investors pared back their holdings of Canadian securities for the first time this year in March, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
StatsCan reported Thursday that foreign investors reduced their Canadian securities exposure by $1.5 billion in March, marking the first divestment in the past three months. The sell-off was concentrated in money market securities, but investors also sold Canadian equities during the month and added bonds.
At the same time, Canadian investors added $1.5 billion worth of foreign securities to their holdings in March. As a result, the economy saw a net outflow of $3.0 billion during the month.
Canadians bought $3.5 billion worth of foreign debt securities in March, largely U.S. corporate bonds, and they sold about $1.9 billion of foreign equities.
Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian money markets by $5.4 billion in March, StatsCan reported.
They also sold off $843 million worth of equities during the month, which was the first drop in equity holdings since May 2018.
“This divestment mainly resulted from sales of shares from the finance and insurance industry,” StatsCan says.
The dip in equities holdings in March barely dented the strong investment activity in the first two months of the year, however.
Overall, foreign investors increased their holdings of Canadian stocks by $15.0 billion in the first quarter, marking the largest quarterly investment in two years, StatsCan reports.
Indeed, despite the decline in Canadian securities holdings in March, for the first quarter, foreign buying of Canadian securities remained at $39.9 billion.
For the first quarter overall, Canadian investors reduced their foreign holdings for the first time in three years, resulting in a net inflow of $40.8 billion so far this year.