LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - Emerging market stock and bond funds saw their first inflows over the past week after over $50 billion fled in the first three months of 2014, with equities snapping a 22-week losing streak, data from EPFR Global shows.
The Boston-based fund tracker, which tracks funds with $23 trillion in assets, released details of first quarter flows late on Thursday, showing that all emerging equity fund categories had shed $41 billion, following $26.7 billion losses in 2013.
Global Emerging Markets (GEM) equity funds lost $20 billion-plus in the first quarter, EPFR said, but it added that now “there were signs of a thaw”.
These funds received $2.5 billion in the week to April 2, with 95 percent of this taken in by exchange-traded funds (ETFs), EPFR said. China, India, Russia and Brazil, the four BRIC countries, enjoyed the biggest inflows.
Only one emerging markets category tracked by EPFR - frontier equity funds - finished the quarter with net gains, having taken in $815 million, data showed.
Developed equity funds which took in a record-setting $385 billion inflows last year, absorbed $95.6 billion over the quarter. Western European equity funds outpaced the United States and Japan, taking in $31.5 billion, EPFR said.
Emerging debt funds meanwhile received just over $1 billion in the past week, EPFR said, noting that the funds had posted outflows in 12 of the 13 weeks in the first 2014 quarter. First quarter losses amounted to $17.2 billion.
It said that flows into China bond funds one of the few bright spots in emerging markets had also faltered following a domestic corporate default.
European bond funds continued to fly high, taking in $15.7 billion in the first quarter, outstripping last year’s record $12 billion inflow. U.S. bond funds received $28.2 billion
“Flows through March were shaped to a degree by the low rates of headline inflation in the United States and Europe, with some fund managers arguing that the latter is flirting with outright deflation,” EPFR said.
“In this climate the returns on sovereign debt, especially that issued by the weaker members of the euro zone, drew yield hungry investors.” (Reporting by Sujata Rao; Editing by Alison Williams)