From time to time, EPFR’s clients alert us to anomalous flows into exchange traded funds (ETFs) that occur on a specific day and for a specific fund. Given our awareness of these types of flows, and the granularity of our databases, EPFR’s quant team decided it was high time they dove into our ETF database and conducted a systematic analysis of these events.
Flows to and from EPFR-tracked fund groups during the final week of March continued to paint a picture of risk aversion and fear among investors. For the third week running liquidity funds recorded above average inflows while High Yield, Bank Loan, Emerging Markets Bond and Alternative Funds extended their current outflow streaks.
In the face of this uncertainty, and the unwillingness of major Western central banks to suspend the battle against inflation, investors continued to cut risk, increase their exposure to China’s rebound story and steer cash into liquidity funds.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shifted investor sentiment towards China, India and other APAC emerging markets in 2022. Are they keeping momentum this year?
The second week of March was dominated by the crumbling fortunes of large US regional banks and European major Credit Suisse. Although this certainly dented investors’ risk appetite, many saw events as an opportunity – especially if major central banks dust off their playbooks from 2008-09 and 2020, opening lines of credit and secured lending facilities and cutting interest rates.
The third month of 2023 started with investors pulling another $5 billion out of EPFR-tracked US Equity Funds, extending that group’s longest outflow streak since 2Q20, as stronger-than-expected consumer spending and a resilient labor market undermined the case for an early end to the current US rate hiking cycle.
How much longer will the war in Ukraine go on? How much further will central banks go before they deem inflation contained? How much damage will the latest US debt ceiling standoff do? How widely will the benefits of China’s anticipated economic rebound be felt? What direction will Japanese monetary policy take?