TIC Data Summary: Russian Treasury Holdings Tumble; China, Japan Add

The Treasury released its May Treasury International Capital data today, which confirms recent trends: while China, both domestically and through the UK, and Japan both added to their gross exposure of US debt in May, Russia's holdings continued to tumble in line with warnings out of Moscow discussed previously and with the continued Kremlin rotation out of Treasurys and into gold. And while Putin has obviously had enough with shenanigans in the US, the same can not be said for his posturing colleagues in China (and Japan) who at least two months ago, brought their holdings of US to 2011 (and record) highs of $1159.8MM and $912.4MM respectively. So much for China dumping bonds. Another source of Treasury demand: petrodollars, which saw their UST holdings in May hit an all time high of $229.8 billion. Overall, gross purchases of Long-Term US securities by official and private foreign buyers declined modestly to $44.6 billion from $44.8 billion. Netting out foreign securities purchased of $21 billion, yields net flows of $23.6 billion on expectations of $40 billion, or in other words May saw a modestly lower inflationary impact due to an influx in foreign capital in the US economy. Also when netting out US purchases of foreign securities as well as changes in bank dollar-denominated liabilities the net number was -$67.5 billion.

Foreign holdings of US bonds by top 4 holders.

But...just Russia, which instead ended up converting $10 billion of USTs into 22 tons of gold in May and generating a massively higher return. That wily old Putin...

Monthly breakdown by gross foreigner asset class purchase and disposition. Notable is that while foreigers sold the most in Agencies ($8.2 billion) since September 2010, they bought the most Corporate bonds ($5.6 billion) since August 2010.

Source: TIC