The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings rose to $5.46 trillion in September, up 0.1 percent from August.
China, the largest holder of U.S. government debt, barely increased its holdings in September to $1.16 trillion. Japan, the second-largest holder, increased its holdings to $1.13 trillion. Brazil trimmed its holdings to $267 billion.
Investors continued to buy U.S. Treasurys, even as lawmakers and President Barack Obama remained at odds over whether to raise the U.S. borrowing limit as part of a broader budget deal.