Chinese officials said the move was a normal investment decision, as the U.S. is a significant market for the country and that China is required to make adjustments to cope with various changes in the market.
Japan had been the largest USA debt holder since October previous year when it outpaced China.
The rise of China's holdings of US treasuries comes as pressure from China's capital outflows eased and the Chinese currency renminbi strengthened. Japan held that position for the past eight months but sold $21 billion of its US treasury bonds in June.
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China increased its holdings of U.S. Treasuries by the most in two years, once again became the United States' biggest creditor. It is also expected that China's USA holding would continue to rise in future months.
China's central bank announced that the country's foreign exchange reserves increased to 3.08 trillion U.S. dollars in the month of July.
Japan became United States biggest creditor in October, when it owned $1.13 trillion treasuries, and ranked second after eight month. China's holdings of US government paper rose to $1.147 trillion, up more than $44 billion from the previous month.
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Japan's holdings have fluctuated in recent months.
"The PBOC's primary motivation is to manage the fx reserves in a way that makes sure they are held in safe and liquid investments and that they make a decent rate of return", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics in Singapore. Whatever the reason, with the Chinese yuan more stable against the dollar the Chinese government feels reinvigorated enough to start purchasing USA government bonds like never before. "I don't think the primary motivations are going to be political".
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