(Recasts to focus on Chinese holdings; adds details)
NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) - China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries increased for a second straight month in April, making it the largest holder of U.S. government debt, data from the U.S. Treasury Department showed on Monday.
China held $1.263 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, up from $1.261 trillion in March. Its holdings peaked at $1.317 trillion in November 2013.
Japan had the second-largest holdings of U.S. Treasuries, with $1.215 trillion in April, down from $1.226 trillion in March.
Belgium, which as recently as February was the third-largest holder of U.S. debt, reduced its holdings further in April, to $228.9 billion from $252.8 billion in March. Belgium’s holdings in April were the lowest since November 2013, when they were $200.6 billion.
The euro zone country’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries topped out at a record $381.4 billion in March 2014, but have since dropped 40 percent, the data showed.
Analysts have said Belgium’s holdings had risen due to foreign accumulation of Treasuries held in custody accounts at Belgium-based clearing houses.
Overall, foreigners bought long-term U.S. securities for a third straight month in April.
Net buying of long-term U.S. assets totaled $53.9 billion in April after revised inflows of $25.6 billion in March. Including short-dated assets such as bills, overseas investors bought $106.6 billion, reversing outflows of $95.2 billion the previous month.
Private investors bought $119.9 billion in U.S. assets in April, while foreign central banks and other official institutions sold $13.3 billion.
Foreign investors bought U.S. Treasuries for a second straight month, totaling a net $6.441 billion in April, down from $8.037 billion in March.
Buying of U.S. Treasuries by private foreign investors amounted to $26.586 billion, a third straight month of inflows. In contrast, foreign central banks sold U.S. Treasuries to the tune of $20.098 billion in April, the seventh consecutive month of selling.
U.S. equities, meanwhile, posted a minor inflow of $254 million in April, following outflows of $14.949 billion the previous month. Private investors bought $3.381 billion in U.S. stocks, offsetting selling by foreign central banks totaling $3.137 billion. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Dan Grebler)