Stack of bills

Foreign investors cut their holdings of Canadian securities by $19.1 billion in March, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The reduced exposure to Canadian securities in March – $14.7 billion in debt securities and $4.4 billion in equities – resulted in an $8.0 billion reduction for the first quarter.

At the same time, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $5.6 billion in March, pushing the total Q1 divestment to $23.4 billion.

Canadian investors’ divestment in March was almost entirely due to a $11.4-billion drop in holdings of U.S. stocks during the month, StatsCan reported. The divestment was partly offset by acquisitions of foreign debt ($3.0 billion) and non-U.S. equities ($2.8 billion).

The cross-border trends in March generated a net outflow of $13.5 billion from the Canadian economy. However, for the first quarter, portfolio flows produced a $15.4-billion inflow.