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Foreign investors ramped up their buying of Canadian securities in April, while Canadian investors pulled back sharply from buying foreign securities following record investment in March, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

In April, foreign investors made their largest investment in Canadian debt and equity in two years, the national statistical agency reported.

Overall, offshore investors added $41.2-billion worth of securities in the month, led by $34.6 billion in debt securities. This marked the highest monthly total since the onset of the pandemic, when debt issuance soared.

Investors snapped up $12.3-billion worth of Canadian corporate bonds in April, along with $10.8 billion in federal government bonds, $9.8 billion in provincial government bonds and $7.3 billion in money market securities, StatsCan reported.

“While the latest StatsCan data deal with April, provinces continued to tap international markets in May and again in June, with non-resident purchases of this fresh paper to be picked up in future releases,” noted National Bank Financial Inc. in a research note.

Foreign investors added $6.6 billion of Canadian equities in April, StatsCan said.

“The investment in April was mainly in shares of the trade and transportation industries, as well as the energy and mining industries,” it said. This offset the $6.2-billion divestment of Canadian equities by foreign investors over the previous two months.

StatsCan also reported that Canadian investors’ buying of foreign securities slowed sharply in April, dropping to just $2.5 million following a record $35.6-billion investment in March.

Investors added $11.6 billion of foreign debt securities in April, which was almost exactly offset by investors selling foreign equity holdings, led by a $9.7-billion divestment from U.S. stocks.

Given the foreign buying of Canadian securities and the nearly net zero activity by Canadian investors, the economy saw a net inflow of $41.2 billion in April, which StatsCan said nearly offset the net outflow of funds from the previous two months.