06/13/2012 09:15 EDT | Updated 08/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Net foreign debt up in Q1 because of foreign investment, strong loonie

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the country's net foreign debt increased by $15.7 billion to $229.9 billion at the end of the first quarter.

The figure refers to the difference in the value of Canada's assets compared with its international liabilities.

The agency attributed the rise to continued foreign investment into Canada's economy as well as the appreciation of the loonie against most major currencies.

The country's international liabilities rose by $5.2 billion to $1.835 trillion in the quarter, while the value of its international assets declined by $10.5 billion to $1.605 trillion.

Direct foreign investment in Canada was up $12.3 billion in the first quarter to $619.7 billion, driven by mergers and acquisitions.

Canadian direct investment abroad edged up to $686.0 billion and Canada's net debt position on securities increased to $412.2 billion in the first quarter.