Foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in February, indicating that international investors remain confident in U.S. debt despite budget battles in Washington. The Treasury Department said Monday that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities increased 0.3 percent in February to a record $5.66 trillion. It was the 14th consecutive monthly increase, and it left total holdings 10.8 percent higher than a year ago. Out of the total foreign holdings, 72 percent is owned by foreign governments, including foreign central banks. China, the top foreign owner of Treasury debt, increased its holdings 0.7 percent to $1.22 trillion. Japan, the second-biggest holder, reduced its holdings 0.6 percent to $1.1 trillion. The third largest holder, a group of five countries classified as Caribbean banking centers, raised its holdings 5.5 percent to $286.7 billion. Brazil, the next largest, increased its holdings 2.3 percent to $260 billion. Overall demand kept rising despite sharp disagreements between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress over tax and spending issues.