The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Buyers’ strike hits bond market

Investor demand for US
corporate debt (2003)

Source: CreditSights

Political divisions over the Iraq war may have finally led to the much-touted buyers' strike by foreign investors in US assets, according to recent data from the US Treasury about foreign purchases of US debt.

Data for February, when tension between countries such as France and Germany and the US was peaking, showed purchase levels were well below last year's monthly average. There was net foreign selling of US treasuries of $4.7 billion, something not seen since last August. Net foreign purchases of agency debt were almost half of last year's monthly average at $8.6 billion.

The first indications were that the war was having no impact on investment decisions. In fact, in January, foreigners purchased $23.4 billion-worth of US corporate debt - the highest level since May 2002. This was partly a response to the surge of primary issuance at the beginning of the year but was still beyond expectations. As Louise Purtle, head of US credit strategy at independent research firm CreditSights, says: "The tendency for investors to pull back from the US market was much more evident in the second quarter of 2002 when the accounting scandals were really apparent in the US."

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree