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US ETFs Bleed Assets 2 Months Running

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U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds and products suffered net outflows of $3 billion in March after giving up $10.6 billion in February, the independent research and consultancy firm ETFGI reported this week.

The report said the majority of these outflows could be ascribed to the top 20 ETFs by net outflows, which collectively have hemorrhaged $52 billion during 2018. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY US) on its own accounted for net outflows of $14.5 billion.

Among other ETFs with large first-quarter outflows were these:

  • iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA US): $6.4 billion
  • iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD US): $5.7 billion
  • iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD US): $3.8 billion
  • iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG US): $3.2 billion
  • SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK US): $3.2 billion
  • Wisdom Tree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ US): $2.4 billion
  • Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ US): $2.2 billion
  • Wisdom Tree Europe Hedge Equity Fund (HEDJ US): $1.1 billion
  • iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU US): $1.1 billion

Year to date through March, U.S.-listed funds had net inflows of $65 billion, way off the $134 billion recorded for the same period in 2017.

At the end of the first quarter, the U.S. ETF/ETP industry had 2,180 funds from 138 providers on three exchanges, with $3.4 trillion in assets.

ETFGI reported that ETFs/ETPs listed globally had net inflows of $19 billion in March, the 50th consecutive month of net inflows, albeit 72% below net inflows in March 2017.

Investors tended to invest in core, market cap and lower cost ETFs in March, according to ETFGI. The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA US) and TOPIX Exchange Traded Fund (1306 JP) captured most of the flows.

For the year to date, net inflows into globally listed funds amounted to $137 billion, compared with net inflows of $197 billion in the year-ago quarter.

At the end of March, the global ETF/ETP sector had 7,389 ETFs/ETPs, with 13,926 listings from 368 providers on 69 exchanges in 57 countries. Global assets stood at $4.9 trillion, down 1% from the February total.

February and March asset flows took the bloom off the bright start of the year when global assets passed the $5 trillion milestone in January.

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