Inflows for global exchange traded products soared to $44.1 billion last month, the best month since September 2012, when inflows reached $45.1 billion.
Year-to-date inflows of $143.3 billion are now ahead of last year's record of $128.3 billion, according to data from BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), parent company of iShares, the world's largest ETF issuer.
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Helped by a rebound in U.S. stocks, U.S. equity ETFs attracted $31.6 billion in cash in July, more than triple the amount that went into equity mutual funds.
Following outflows of $8.4 billion in June, bond ETFs raked in $6.4 billion in July, with $2.6 billion of that total going to junk bond funds. That is good for the largest amount to high-yield bond funds since February 2012, according to BlackRock.
"Flows into US Sector funds swelled to $6.2bn, the highest monthly total since 2008. Investors favored more economically sensitive sectors including Financials with $2.3bn, Technology with $1.2bn, and Energy with $0.6bn," said BlackRock. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLF), the largest financial services ETF by assets, is the only sector fund among the top-10 asset-gathering ETFs on a year-to-date basis.
Investors continued to pull money out of ETFs backed by physical gold, such as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD) and the iShares Gold Trust (NYSE:IAU) last month. Outflows from gold ETFs were $2.6 billion in July, bringing the two-month total to $6.9 billion, according to BlackRock data.
Emerging markets ETFs, which have frustrated investors for much of 2013, saw small inflows of $500 million last month after $4.3 billion in redemptions in the previous month. However, investors did pull $1.1 billion from China ETFs in July.
On a year-to-date basis, the top three ETFs in terms of inflows are the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY), the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSE:DXJ) and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSE:EWJ).
"US and Japanese Equity exposures account for the bulk of the year-over-year Equity flow growth. Both equity markets have been bolstered by accommodative CentralBank monetary policies," said BlackRock.
Other funds on the top-10 list for 2013 inflows include the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSE:IWM), XLF, the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSE:VTI) and the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSE:BKLN).
Nine of the top-10 ETFs in terms of year-to-date outflows are listed in the U.S. and the list is lead by GLD with 2013 outflows of nearly $19.9 billion. Other members of that list include the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSE:EEM), the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSE:VWO), the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond (NYSE:JNK), the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSE:EWZ) and the iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (NYSE:EMB), according to BlackRock.
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