Foreigners trim Malaysian govt debt holdings in Aug

PHOTO: Foreigners trim Malaysian govt debt holdings in Aug

KUALA LUMPUR - Foreigners trimmed their holdings of Malaysian government bonds for a fourth straight month in August, according to data from Malaysia's central bank.

Their holdings were 125.51 billion ringgit (US$49 billion) at the end of August, compared with 125.54 billion ringgit at end-July and a peak of 144.98 billion ringgit in April.

Malaysia is among emerging nations that have seen a reduction in foreign holdings of government bonds after chairman Ben Bernanke said in May that the US Federal Reserve intended to start reducing its bond-buying this year.

The lower foreign holdings have been a factor in the weakening of the ringgit. Since Bernanke's May remarks, the ringgit has shed more than 6 per cent against the US dollar.

At the end of August, foreign holdings of Bank Negara bills and notes fell to 55.37 billion ringgit from 58.81 billion ringgit in July.

Foreign holdings of government-issued Islamic bonds, or sukuk, fell to 2.55 billion ringgit in August from 2.71 billion ringgit the previous month. Non-Malaysian holdings of private sector debt rose to 10.08 billion ringgit from 10.03 billion ringgit.