China: Report buying of US debt might stop is 'fake news'

BEIJING — China's foreign exchange regulator on Thursday challenged a report it might slow or stop purchases of U.S. Treasury debt due to trade tensions with Washington as "fake news."

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, one of the biggest holders of Treasuries, said it is a "responsible investor" for both the reserves and "participating markets."

Bloomberg, citing unidentified sources, reported Chinese authorities were considering slowing or halting purchases of Treasuries and said they might cite trade tensions as a reason. That prompted a sell-off of U.S. government debt in global markets.

"The news may quote the wrong information source, or it may be fake news," SAFE said on its website.

Beijing keeps a big share of its $3.1 trillion in foreign currency reserves in Treasury debt, which is considered safe and easy to trade. The level rises and falls each month as Chinese currency regulators buy and sell dollars to maintain the exchange of Beijing's tightly controlled yuan.

China owned at least $1.2 trillion of Treasury debt as of October, according to U.S. government data. Beijing is believed to hold additional assets through intermediaries in Switzerland other financial centers.

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