Canadian investors acquired C$7.9B of foreign securities in March, the largest such outflow of funds since November 2012; foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by C$1.2B, the first monthly divestment this year: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , May 16, 2014 (press release) – Canadian investors acquired $7.9 billion of foreign securities in March, the largest such outflow of funds since November 2012. Meanwhile, foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $1.2 billion, the first monthly divestment this year.

This activity led to a net outflow of funds from the Canadian economy of $9.1 billion in March on portfolio transactions and of $10.4 billion for the first quarter of 2014. Over this period, Canadian investment abroad was led by funds placed in foreign equity markets, while foreign investors continued to reduce their exposure to Canadian debt instruments.

Canadian investment in foreign equities accelerates

Canadian investment in foreign securities increased for a second straight month, reaching $7.9 billion in March. Canadian investment in foreign shares totalled $6.4 billion, the highest recorded since April 2007, and mainly targeted non-US equities. In March, major non-US foreign stock markets generally edged down while the US stock market was up by 0.7%.

Chart 1 
Canadian investment in foreign securities
Column stacked chart – Chart 1: Canadian investment in foreign securities, from March 2010 to March 2014

Chart description: Canadian investment in foreign securities

CSV version of chart 1

Canadian investors also acquired $1.5 billion of foreign debt securities in March, led by US Treasury bonds. This marked the sixth straight month of investment in foreign debt instruments and was moderated by a divestment in US corporate bonds and in foreign paper. US long-term interest rates were almost unchanged during the month.

Foreign investors reduce their holdings of Canadian money market instruments

Foreign investors divested $6.1 billion of the Canadian money market in March, led by retirements. This reduction largely consisted of government paper and, to a lesser extent, corporate paper. Foreign holdings of federal government paper were down by $3.4 billion, reflecting a declining trend in the overall outstanding amount of these instruments. Non-residents also reduced their exposure to private corporate paper in the month, divesting $2.4 billion.

Chart 2 
Foreign investment in Canadian securities
Column stacked chart – Chart 2: Foreign investment in Canadian securities, from March 2010 to March 2014

Chart description: Foreign investment in Canadian securities

CSV version of chart 2

Foreign investment in the Canadian bond market amounted to $1.8 billion in March. Inflows were led by a $5.2 billion acquisition of private corporate bonds, mainly new bonds denominated in US dollars. This activity was moderated by divestments in federal government and federal government business enterprise bonds. In March, Canadian long-term interest rates edged up by one basis point, while short-term rates increased by four basis points. The Canadian dollar appreciated against its US counterpart by 0.2 US cents.

Non-resident investment in Canadian equities continues

Foreign investors acquired $3.0 billion of Canadian equities in March, marking a seventh straight month and a fourth straight quarter of such investment. This largely reflected secondary market activity, in the form of acquisitions of outstanding Canadian shares. Canadian stock prices were up 0.9% in March, closing the month at their highest levels since June 2008.

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