According to new figures from the Investment Company Institute, worldwide mutual fund assets for the first quarter of 2005 were $16.3 trillion, or about the same level they were last year.

Officials with the Washington-based trade group blamed the tepid flows on a flat stock market in the U.S. and because growth in assets reported in U.S. dollars was muted due to the appreciation of the dollar.

On the other hand, mutual fund assets in Europe rose 4.9% on a Euro-dominated basis.

Worldwide assets of equity funds were $7.2 trillion, the ICI said, which is essentially unchanged from year-end 2004.

Long-term funds experienced increased inflows, largely on the strength of strong bond inflows in Europe. Outflows from money market funds picked up in the first quarter and were concentrated in the U.S., said the study, which surveyed 41 countries.

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