Total foreign holdings of Treasury debt edged down 0.1 percent to $4.66 trillion, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.
China, the largest foreign holder, bought 1.2 percent less to bring its total holdings to $1.13 trillion. China had increased its holdings 1 percent in September after a reduction of 3.1 percent in August.
The small decline in overall holdings still left them at high levels that suggest foreign demand for U.S. debt remains strong. That strength comes despite a prolonged debate this summer over increasing the nation's borrowing limit. Investors don't appear to be concerned that Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating on long-term U.S. debt in August.