Global demand for long-term U.S. financial assets surged to a record in March, as investors sought a safe haven from the financial turmoil in Europe.
Net purchases of stocks, notes and bonds hit $140.5 billion that month, almost tripling from $47.1 billion in February, according to the Treasury Department.
Treasuries, generally viewed as the safest financial asset in the world, led the way. In addition to Europe’s debt crisis, investors flocked to U.S. markets amid rallies in stocks and bonds and signs of continued economic recovery.
“Foreign institutions and individuals are still turning to the U.S. as a safe haven,” Paul Christopher, senior international investment strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors, told Bloomberg.
“There was some concern foreigners were abandoning the U.S. currency. That fear was misplaced.”
The dollar has soared to a four-year high against the euro.
As for Treasuries, China, which owns more of them than any other foreign country, bought another $17.7 billion in March, lifting its total to $895.2 billion. That represented its first increase since September.
Japan, the second biggest holder, added $16.4 billion of Treasuries, lifting its total to $784.9 billion.
Many experts say Europe’s woes will continue to boost U.S. markets.
“The volatility that we have seen . . . will ultimately shine a light on the United States as the most stable market in a world that’s becoming more volatile,” Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer told The New York Times.
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