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BGI reports strong demand for iShares ETFs in Asia despite market volatility

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Barclays Global Investors says it experienced encouraging growth in its iShares family of exchange-traded funds in both Asia ex-Japan and the global market in 2008.

Barclays Global Investors says it experienced encouraging growth in its iShares family of exchange-traded funds in both Asia ex-Japan and the global market in 2008.

Despite market volatility, assets under management for iShares ETFs in the Asia ex-Japan region reached USD4.3bn as at 31 December 2008, a 43.7 per cent increase in AUM over the previous year. 

On a global basis, iShares had a record year and realized net inflows of USD89bn in new ETF assets for 2008, compared to USD70bn the previous year.

“Investors around the world, including those in Asia, are clearly embracing ETFs,” says Nick Good, chief executive of iShares Asia-Pacific. “The current volatile market has made investors more concerned with knowing exactly what they own and with investing in products which they can trade easily, whenever they want.  iShares ETFs have therefore become a preferred investment vehicle for managing risk.”

In 2008, Hong Kong’s ETF market became the largest in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of turnover value. The most actively traded ETF in Hong Kong in 2008 was the iShares FTSE/Xinhua A50 China Tracker which constituted approximately 60 per cent of Hong Kong’s total ETF market turnover value.

BGI’s ETF Industry Preview Year End 2008 reports that the industry’s average daily trading volume worldwide increased by 32.5 per cent to USD80.4bn in 2008.  The global ETF growth phenomenon is set to continue, with AUM in the ETF sector expected to grow from USD711bn at end of 2008 to USD1trn in 2009 and USD2trn in 2011. 

Good says: “Investors in Asia are increasingly aware of the benefits of ETFs. With transparency and diversification expected to be strong themes in 2009, iShares will continue to provide products to meet investors’ needs in the region.”

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