WASHINGTON: Increasing its exposure for the third straight month, India owned American government securities worth $68.5 billion at the end of December 2013.

India has been slowly raising its holding of US Treasury bills — since September when the same was worth $56.8 billion — even as the developing world is apprehensive about the Federal Reserve’s move to taper the stimulus programme.

Latest data from the US Treasury Department show that India’s holding rose to $68.5 billion in December last year from $63.9 billion in November.

The holding stood at $59.9 billion in October 2013. Except for India, all other BRICS nations trimmed their exposure to American government securities in December. Other countries in the grouping are Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

During that period, China, the largest holder of such securities, cut its exposure to $1.27 trillion from $1.32 trillion in November 2013.

Brazil also slashed its holding to $245.4 billion in December from $246.9 billion recorded in preceding month.

Besides, Russia cut its exposure to $138.6 billion while South Africa’s holding was marginally down to $11.3 billion. In November last, these countries held securities to the tune of $139.9 billion and $11.7 billion, respectively.

Japan continues to be the second largest holder of American treasury bills with holdings worth $1.182 trillion in December last. It also slightly trimmed exposure from $1.186 trillion seen in November 2013.

American economy is on the recovery path and its GDP has been improving in recent quarters.

The country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.2 per cent in the three months ended December 2013, as per advanced estimates of the US government.

“Current-dollar GDP–the market value of the nation’s output of goods and services–increased 4.6 per cent, or $189.6 billion, in the fourth quarter (ended December last year) to a level of $17,102.5 billion,” the Bureau of Economic Analysis had said last month.