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International equities dominate ETF flows in March

By Rhea Nath
2 minute read

The asset class comprised around half of the ETF industry’s net flows last month, marking the fifth consecutive month of notching the largest flows.

International equities represented some $834 million in flows in March as the ETF industry reached a new high of $196.7 billion in assets under management, according to Betashares’ latest ETF review.

Two Vanguard ETFs saw the top inflows, namely the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF and the Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF, which gained $144 million and $129 million, respectively.

While investor appetite remained highest for international equities, fixed income was once again the second largest category for flows ($453 million), with Betashares Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond ETF and the VanEck Australian Subordinated Debt ETF among the top 10 funds to record inflows in March.

Australian equities also remained popular, gaining $396 million.

Interestingly, the report noted listed property also came back in favour, notching $80 million in flows in March.

Still, trading value dipped slightly last month according to Betashares’ monthly review, declining by 9 per cent month-on-month, with ASX trading value of around $9 billion for the month.

Net flows for the month stood at $1.8 billion, slightly up from $1.6 billion in February, while assets grew 3.9 per cent month-on-month.

Total monthly market cap increased by $7.3 billion.

There were notably no new funds launched or closed in March, which Betashares described as “the industry taking a rare pause in terms of new product development” though it expected this to resume at pace in the months ahead. This was in sharp contrast to February that saw 11 funds launches.

The report also observed the best performing ETFs this month were gold miners ETFs, with top performers VanEck Gold Miners ETF and the Betashares Global Gold Miners ETF delivering 19.4 per cent and 19.3 per cent, respectively.

Another commodity-themed ETF, the Global X Copper Miners ETF, rounded off the top three performers, delivering 16.6 per cent.

Bitcoin and crypto exposures performed relatively well, it added, “albeit not at the rate experienced in February”.

The Global X 21Shares Bitcoin ETF returned 13.2 per cent in March, compared to 46.9 per cent in the previous month. Similarly, the Betashares Crypto Innovators ETF returned 12.2 per cent, down from 34.9 per cent.