U.S. one-hundred dollar bills and Chinese one-hundred yuan banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg)

China's U.S. Treasuries Holdings Tumble to Lowest Since May 2017

(Bloomberg) -- China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries fell to the lowest in a year-and-a-half, as its foreign currency reserves declined and the yuan weakened near a key symbolic level.

China’s holdings of notes, bills and bonds dropped for a fifth straight month to $1.14 trillion in October, from $1.15 trillion in September, according to data from the Treasury Department released on Monday. That’s the lowest level since May 2017. China remains the biggest foreign creditor, followed by Japan, whose holdings slipped by $9.5 billion to $1.02 trillion.

Heightened concerns over China’s trade conflict with the U.S. have sparked concerns in the Chinese markets, putting more pressure on stocks and the currency. China’s yuan slid to the weakest in a decade and close to a key level of 7 per dollar in late October. Since then. it has strengthened more than 1 percent as investors grew optimistic that the U.S. and China could settle their trade rift.

In October, China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by the most in almost two years, dropping 1.1 percent to $3.05 trillion.

A Dec. 1 truce between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping has raised hopes the two sides will resolve their trade war. The U.S. has given China a reprieve until March 1 from escalating tariffs while the world’s two biggest economies try and work out a more comprehensive trade agreement.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.