Published: Nov 16, 2010 5:00 PM EST
Updated: Nov 16, 2010 2:00 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, has boosted its holdings for the third straight month.

China's holdings of Treasury debt rose to $883.5 billion in September, the Treasury Department says in a report. That's a 1.7 percent increase from August. For much of this year, China has been increasing its holdings of Treasury debt.

The report shows that China and other countries still have a robust appetite for Treasury debt even as the U.S. government is running annual budget deficits topping $1 trillion. Overall, foreign governments increased their purchases of Treasury securities by $39.5 billion in September, a record high. A sustained drop in foreign demand for Treasury debt could lead to higher U.S. interest rates, slowing the economy.