European ETFs see lowest monthly inflows in 2015

Inflows into the European exchange-traded fund space hit their lowest ebb for six months in May, according to a BlackRock report.

European ETFs see lowest monthly inflows in 2015

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Pan-European ETFs saw a net influx of $1.6bn (£1.1bn), the smallest monthly total since December, while exchange-traded product inflows on the continent decelerated to $1.8bn (£1.2bn).

The figure represents just 9.8% of global ETP inflows in the month, which hit $18.3bn (£12bn) to take the year-to-date total to $123.8bn (£81.2bn), and pales in comparison to the $11.2bn (£7.4bn) that investors poured into US-listed ETPs.

It was also less than a third of the Asia-Pacific figure, which, boosted by Japanese equities and in spite of money leaving the Chinese space, reached $4.6bn (£3bn).

By asset class, Japanese equity ETFs led the pack on $5.8bn (£3.8bn), meaning that non-US equity ETF flows in 2015 have already surpassed the $20bn gathered in 2014.

As of 31 May, cumulative flows into European equity ETPs since the start of the year stood at $42.1bn (£27.6bn), $19.4bn (£12.7bn) clear of nearest regional competitor Japan, and $65.4bn (£42.9bn) more than their US-listed counterparts.

Recovering markets included US equities, which accrued $400m following heavy April outflows, though the space has still bled $23.3bn since the turn of the year, while emerging market equities registered a second consecutive month of inflows on $2.7bn (£1.8bn).

The report comes in the wake of investor forecasts predicting the European ETF market will hit between $1tn and $3tn in assets under management by 2019.

Ursula Marchioni, BlackRock’s head of ETP research, said: “Looking at the May monthly flows, our ETP data suggests that investors’ attraction for European equities might start to cool.

“Pan-European equity funds continued to see inflows, but at a slower pace than over the past six months. The majority of inflows came late in the month, following news that the European Central Bank could conduct its bond purchases earlier than anticipated.”

On the fixed income side of the equation, tempered by investor reticence over a potential US interest rate rise, monthly flows yielded a slight decrease for the first time since September though stayed ahead of the unprecedented pace exhibited in 2014.

However, there were some relatively strong performers within the industry, as US investment-grade bond and emerging markets debt ETF inflows of $900m (£590.6m) and $500m (£328.1m) offset $2.8bn (£1.8bn) drained from US Treasuries.

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