DB - Equity Research-Weekly & Monthly European ETF Market Monitors: European ETF industry gets a fresh start in January-continued

February 10, 2012--ETF month in perspective
2012: A fresh start for the European ETF industry
January brought a very strong start to the year for the global (US, Europe and Asia) ETF industry. ETF assets grew by 8.1% over January 2012, a growth rate that surpassed the overall 2011 year growth rate of 3.1%. Global ETF assets reached $1.4 trillion as of the end of January 2011, up from $1.3 trillion at the end of 2011.
Both the US as well as the European ETF industries grew by 8.2% and 6.5%, reaching asset levels of $1.0 trillion and €221.3 billion respectively. Most of the growth came from rebounding equity markets, however, flows accounted for 2.9% of the growth in the US market and for 1.1% of the growth in the European market (US$ terms). Cash flows for the US market totaled $27.1 billion and €2.4 billion for the European market, for the month of January.

The performance of the European ETF market in the first month of 2012 was sharply different from how it ended the previous year. European ETFs registered outflows of €2.2 billion over December 2011, a decline that was largely driven by equity outflows (€1.8 billion). This situation was reversed in January 2012, with equities contributing €1.5 of net inflows towards the new money that flowed into the European ETF industry.

The January 2012 European ETF industry fresh start was mainly driven by two factors. First, overall market conditions improved somewhat, with the Euro Stoxx 50 delivering gains of 4.3%. Better market conditions helped bring ETF investors out of their shell and allocate money back in the equity market. Second, the European Securities and Markets Authority, ESMA, issued its second consultation on ETFs. ESMA’s publication of its views provided comfort to investors as it gave an indication both about the regulatory body’s future intentions as well as its views with regards to perceived ETF risks.

Overall, the ESMA consultation was deemed to be balanced, avoiding any dramatic changes in the European ETF market, especially those that would put it at odds with how mutual funds operate under UCITS. The consultation provided further evidence that ESMA, through ETFs, which are perceived to be the golden standard in the fund industry, is looking to 'tidy-up' a number of wider fund management industry issues, such as tracking capacity and fund construction, primarily pertaining to total return swaps and securities lending practices .

ETF Industry: The month’s investment trends

The US Market: Flows across the board, from domestic to emerging markets

The US ETF industry registered strong cash flows in the first month of the year totaling $27 billion. Investors favor for risky assets continued in January with equities having the lion’s share in cash inflows ($19.3 billion).

US ETF equity flows were quite diversified, with both domestic as well as emerging markets benefiting. US domestic benchmarked equity ETFs brought inflows of $11.5 billion, while emerging market benchmarked equity ETFs saw inflows of $5.7 billion. Sectors also did well, attracting new money totaling $3.2 billion.

Fixed Income ETFs collected a healthy $7.7 billion in cash inflows; a healthy increase over the $6 billion inflows received in December. Commodity ETVs had a positive month, receiving cash inflows in excess of $1.5 billion which is in sharp contrast to last month’s pattern where commodities registered outflows of $2.7 billion.

For more information about analysis and trends in the US ETF market please refer to our US ETF Market Monthly Review.

The European Market: Emerging Markets main flow growth driver

Equity markets across Europe had a very positive run over the month registering advances across the board: DAX (? 9.5%), CAC (? 4.4%), Euro Stoxx 50 (? 4.3%) and the FTSE 100 Index (? 2.0%). Gold and silver spot prices (US$/oz), also appreciated by 9.8% and 17.6% respectively.

The European ETF industry improved on its poor run in December (outflows of €2.1 billion) and received cash inflows of €2.4 billion in January. Most of the flows went into ETFs tracking equity benchmarks (€1.5 billion) with healthy contributions by other asset classes; Fixed Income ETFs (€412 million), commodities (€331 million) and alternatives (€159 million).

Within equities, emerging markets (EM) benchmarks were back in vogue, collecting cash inflows of €904 million in January. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India & China) collectively pocketed cash inflows of €365 million while ETFs tracking broad benchmarks like the MSCI EM collected €385 million over the same period. Within ETFs tracking developed markets (DM) benchmarks, a clear divergence was visible: ETFs focused on North American region which includes US & Canada received cash inflows of €672 million while ETFs tracking European benchmarks registered outflows of €663 million. ETFs tracking broader DM benchmarks such as MSCI World received net cash inflows of €107 million over the month of January.

ETFs tracking European sectors registered cash inflows of €171 million in January as compared to outflows of €166 million in the month of December.

Despite the positive equity markets and healthy flows, a hint of bearishness continues to persist as evident from the flows into leveraged and inverse products. ETFs providing inverse and leveraged inverse exposure pocketed inflows of €272 million and €282 million in January respectively. On the other hand ETFs providing leveraged exposure registered cash outflows of €332 million.

Fixed Income ETFs registered cash inflows of €412 million over January as compared to outflows of €404 million in December 2011. ETFs tracking corporate debt issuances and sub-sovereigns collected inflows of €588 million and €117 million respectively. Money market & sovereign ETFs registered outflows of €249 million and €144 million respectively.

Commodity ETPs received cash inflows totaling €498 million in January which is marginally higher than the €198 million received in December 2011. Most of the inflows were into products tracking crude oil (€211 million) and diversified commodity indices (€131 million).

ETP investors approached gold products with caution in January, evident from the inflows totaling €56 million which is significantly lower than the €623 million received in December 2011.

ETF comparatives: Mutual Funds, cash equity turnover

European ETF turnover is 8.0% of the region’s cash equities turnover as of the end of January 2012. The equivalent number for the US market stands at 24.5%.

European ETFs comprised 2.8% of the continent’s mutual fund industry, yet ETF cash flows, €17.7 billion from Jan-Nov 2011, was over 1.4x higher than the corresponding unlisted fund flows (- €44 billion). European unlisted mutual funds registered outflows of close to €138 billion in the months of Aug-Nov 2011. Mutual fund industry data as per the European Fund Management Association (EFAMA).

US ETFs comprised 8.1% of the its mutual fund industry, yet ETF cash flows, $113 billion for 2011, was over 4.7x higher than the corresponding unlisted fund flows ($24 billion). Mutual fund industry data as per the Investment Company Institute (ICI).

To request a copy of the report

Source: Christos Costandinides, European Head of ETF Research & Strategy, Deutsche Bank

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