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Small decline in ETF inflows in May reports BlackRock


BlackRock’s ETP Landscape report for May 2016 shows that global ETP flows registered USD10.7 billion in May, on par with April inflows of USD11.1billion, despite a pullback in global risk sentiment.

 The report says that fixed income exposures posted another strong month with inflows of USD9.7 billion, maintaining a healthy momentum. Cumulative flows for 2016 now stand at USD61.8 billion – the best year-to-date rate in the history of the product, according to BlackRock.
Global developed market exposures were the driver of equity ETP flows with USD5.2 billion recorded for the month, while flows into US equity exposures were more benign at USD0.9 billion, says the report.
ETP investors extended their record purchases of low/minimum volatility equity strategies, with inflows of USD2.6 billion during May, across US and global developed market exposures. At USD14.4 billion, year-to-date inflows in these strategies have already surpassed the record full-year flows of USD11.6 billion during 2015.
May saw equity ETPs outflows of -USD3.7 billion, according to BlackRock, reversing the course of net inflows for the past two months, as risk-off sentiment took hold at the start of the month. Commodity ETPs added USD4.1 billion in May on the back of strong demand for gold funds.
Ursula Marchioni, Chief Strategist, iShares EMEA at BlackRock says: “May flows appear to suggest that ETP investors are signalling no conviction, with some flows expressing risk-off, whilst others indicating risk-on. This is unsurprising given the current political landscape, which is contributing to market uncertainty.
“The flows indicate that investors think they may have gone overboard in their enthusiasm for European and Japanese equities last year – both sectors saw record ETP flows in 2015 – and are now redeeming. U.S. equities seem to be the only bastion of modest economic growth but equity valuations are rich.
“With government bond yields at record lows, the influx of fixed income flows are going into credit-based exposures in the hope of getting whatever yields are left to scrap. However, this flow rally could fizzle out once the ECB hits its limit of corporate bond support and/or the Fed hikes aggressively. Investment grade corporate bonds led flows in May with USD2.8 billion, followed by multi-sector and broad market exposures, emerging markets debt and inflation-linked sovereign bonds.
“Gold-based ETPs accumulated USD4.1billion in May, which was the second-highest monthly inflow in 2016. Despite falling gold prices over the month, ETP investors bought a record amount of gold exposure signalling a flight to safety. The return to negative correlation between gold and equities this year, after years of QE-induced positive correlation, has meant that investors are turning to the precious metal as a portfolio diversifier. 
“In Europe, month to date flows are entirely dominated by bond exposures, of which USD1.8 billion came in investment grade credit, while equities continue to slip with -USD1.2 billion of outflows. The ETP flow story in Europe certainly resonates with what we’re seeing from a global perspective.”

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