02/16/2012 09:23 EST | Updated 04/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Pace of foreign investment slower in December: StatsCan

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says foreign investment in Canadian securities slowed to $7.4 billion in December, about half the amount recorded in November but still close to the average monthly investment in 2011.

Canadians, meanwhile, acquired $2.8 billion of foreign securities in December, led by bonds.

Transactions in December closed a third straight year of relatively robust non-resident investment in Canadian securities at $95.6 billion, down from a high of $117.4 billion in 2010.

In addition, last year marked the highest annual Canadian investment in foreign securities since 2007.

Foreign investment in Canadian bonds slowed to $2.1 billion in December. For the entire year, foreigners bought $42.9 billion of Canadian bonds, less than half of the 2010 total.

Non-residents bought $3.5 billion in Canadian money market instruments in December and increased their holdings of federal treasury bills for a sixth straight month.

Foreign investment in the Canadian money market intensified in the second half of the year to a high of $32 billion for 2011, with over 80 per cent of this directed to federal treasury bills.

Foreign investors purchased $1.7 billion of Canadian stocks in December, down from $3.1 billion in November.

Canadians, meanwhile, bought $2.3 billion in foreign long-term debt instruments in December, with U.S. government bonds leading the way.

For the year as a whole, however, Canadians reduced their holdings of foreign bonds for a fourth consecutive year.

Canadians added $1.4 billion of foreign stocks to their holdings in December, with investment focused on technology and energy shares.

Statistics Canada said Canadian investors added foreign equities to their portfolios in every month of 2011, for a total of $25.5 billion, which was almost twice the amount invested in 2010.