Investors poured the most cash since October 2013 into global money markets on the heels of trade tensions and turmoil in developing economies.
At $45 billion, U.S. funds were the biggest beneficiaries of the $55 billion inflow in the week through June 6 — the second-highest on record — according to EPFR Global. Allocations into U.S. inflation-protected bond vehicles also hit their highest since the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the data provider.
“With the global growth story losing some of its shine, tariff-related rhetoric increasing in volume and a populist government taking office in Italy, investors opted for liquidity in early June,” Cameron Brandt, director of research, wrote in a note. European equity and emerging-market fixed income were big losers.
Woes in developing economies and trade frictions were on full display this week, with Friday’s G-7 meeting in Quebec underscoring President Trump’s isolation on the international stage, creating a more complex outlook for market risk.
Money managers can also snap up positive real returns on cash-like instruments in the U.S., effectively for the first time since the crisis. Three-month U.S. Treasury bills yield about 1.9%, up from 1.4% at the start of the year.
Still, EPFR data suggest bullish sentiment endures. U.S. equity funds extended their longest inflow streak since the fourth quarter of 2017, taking in about $1 billion overall, and Chinese bond funds saw the highest allocation in over 17 months.
“Investors did respond — cautiously — to some of the bright spots in the global growth picture,” Brandt said.