Notably Dutch investments in French and German government bonds increased sharply over that period (see chart). Investments in French and German government paper ran to EUR 94 and EUR 93 billion respectively at end Q2 2010, against EUR 59 billion and EUR 64 billion at end Q2 2008. Holdings of US Treasuries also expanded markedly, by 86 percent over two years. Their total value was relatively low, however, at EUR 15 billion at end-June 2010.
Purchases of French and German government bonds were offset by sales of Italian, Greek and Spanish government paper, especially in the first half of 2010. The prices of government bonds were another factor behind the divergent development. In the first half of 2010 alone, these prices pushed up the value of Dutch holdings of German and French government paper by EUR 6 billion and EUR 3 billion respectively. In contrast, price movements brought the value of Italian and Greek government bonds down by just over EUR 1 billion and EUR 3 billion.