January represented a rarity for the exchange traded products industry, but that does not mean it was memorable as investors pulled $9.7 billion from exchange traded funds and notes in the first month of year.
That is a reversal of the trend of inflows and comes after ETF inflows reached a record last year, topping $200 billion for the second consecutive year. Equity-based ETFs were the culprits, shedding $10 billion “and diverged from the strong starts seen in the past two years. Investors continued to turn to ETPs to efficiently execute their market views during a volatile month for stocks,” according to a note out Thursday from BlackRock.
January 2014 was the worst January since 2010 in terms of ETF outflows. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is the parent company of iShares, the world’s largest ETF issuer.
Hampered by weak Chinese economic data and escalating concerns about external financing vulnerabilities, emerging markets ETFs bled assets in January. The total lost equity-based emerging markets funds, according to BlackRock, was $10 billion. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) rank as two of the worst ETFs in terms of 2014 outflows after achieving that dubious status last year. [Emerging Markets ETFs Bleed Cash]
“Last week’s selloff came as number of emerging market countries – including Turkey – raised their benchmark interest rates in an effort to stem the pressure on their currencies, and as political turmoil in the Ukraine and Thailand continued. As we’re coming off a long period of market complacency that sent risk assets to relatively high levels, these local emerging market headlines are starting to have an effect amid relatively fragile market sentiment and a generalized flight to quality,” BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich.