Highlights from January’s ETP flows data. ·Global ETPs gathered $13.9bn as investors contemplated heightened market volatility markets and falling global growth forecasts….
Marchioni Ursula – Head of ETP Research EMEA at iShares
· Turbulence in global equity markets led many investors to safe-haven assets such as developed government bonds, with U.S. Treasury ETPs generating inflows of $9.1bn. This was the third-highest monthly inflows into U.S. Treasury ETPs in the last five years and seems to challenge the highest-ever full-year inflow of $14.4bn accomplished in 2009.
· Anticipated central bank stimulus in Japan and Europe prompted inflows to Japan and European equity funds of $5.2bn and $2.4bn, respectively.
· U.S. equity ETP investors shed $11.2bn, reducing exposure to economically-sensitive and ‘high-beta’ sectors, such as mid / small caps (-$3.4bn) and cyclical sectors (-$3.5bn), in particular. Despite this, 2016 outflows year-to-date are less severe than in January 2015 when U.S. equity funds shed $18.4bn. Minimum volatility products generated $1.3bn, predominantly led by investor demand for U.S. equity exposures.
· In Europe, comments from the European Central Bank led to $1.8bn of flows into broad European equity ETPs. U.K. equity funds attracted $821mn. Sovereign bonds were preferred by investors as a risk-off tactical adjustment. The category saw inflows of $1.4bn. However, these were partially offset by outflows in the credit space (-$663mn).
· Commodity funds gathered $4.3bn, the strongest month since February 2015. Flows were fueled by demand for crude oil and gold products, each recording inflows of $2.8bn and $1.9bn respectively.
Ursula Marchioni, Chief Strategist, iShares EMEA at BlackRock commented:
“January 2016 flows were even higher than the 2015 figure as investors used ETPs to express investment views in turbulent markets. A catalogue of uncertainties during the month, ranging from falling crude oil prices and a lower world economic growth outlook, saw global investors shed some risk from their portfolios and turn to safe haven assets. There was a notable swing away from US equities, with over $11 billion flowing out of the asset class, compared to over $26 billion of inflows in December 2015 alone.
“Interestingly, global flows into commodity products suggested some contrarian investors believe energy prices could have sold off too far, with commodity products recording their strongest month of inflows since February 2015. Gold and energy based exposures led the charge of flows into this sector.
“Despite significant volatility in the equity markets, not all ‘risk-on’ assets recorded outflows. This trend was particularly pertinent in Europe, where equities were the flavour of the month in the region. European-listed products recorded $3bn of inflows. This demand was driven by hints from the European Central Bank to loosen monetary policy, which led to increased optimism among investors about the region’s economic outlook.”