08/16/2012 08:45 EDT | Updated 10/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Holdings of Canadian securities by foreign investors down in June: StatsCan

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says non-residents reduced their holdings of Canadian securities in June in the biggest decline of the past 3-1/2 years, following two straight months of acquisitions.

Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian bonds by $7.8 billion in June, the largest divestment since December 2008.

The agency says the divestment was the result of a $17.5 billion retirement of maturing instruments, mostly Canadian dollar denominated bonds from the federal government and its enterprises.

But that was offset by non-resident investors purchasing $0.8 billion of Canadian money market instruments in June, though that was down from $7.3 billion in May.

At the same time, non-residents sold a net $0.9 billion of Canadian stocks in June, following a $2.1 billion net investment in May.

Sales were focused on shares from the energy and gold sectors.

Meanwhile, StatsCan says Canadian investors added $3.9 billion of foreign securities to their portfolio, mainly U.S. government bonds.