(Adds flows data, investor comment)
LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Outflows from stock funds worldwide hit a 15-week high of $8.3 billion in the latest week, with fears of a China-driven global economic crisis pushing investors towards safe-haven money-market funds and Treasuries, data from a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report showed on Friday.
An exodus from emerging markets also gathered steam, as investors pulled $6 billion out of EM equity funds in the week ended Aug. 19 their seventh week in the red and the highest weekly tally in five weeks.
Funds that specialize in U.S. shares posted $6.6 billion in outflows, bringing withdrawals so far this year to $120 billion, according to the report, which also cited data from fund-tracker EPFR Global. Emerging debt funds lost $2.5 billion, their biggest weekly loss since January 2014.
The move toward consumer-led growth in China should hurt emerging market countries such as Brazil and Chile that have benefited from supplying commodities to China when the world’s second-biggest economy was in its building phase of growth, said Michael Jones, chief investment officer of RiverFront Investment Group in Richmond, Virginia.
“We see nothing but pain in most emerging markets for quite a period of time,” Jones said.
World stocks were heading for their worst week of the year on Friday and commodities took a fresh kicking after data showed Chinese manufacturing shrinking at the fastest pace since 2009.
Investors sought bonds and gold in the latest week, with $2.5 billion flowing into funds dedicated to government bonds and Treasuries. This fund group has now seen seven straight weeks of inflow, their longest streak since November 2012.
Riskier high-yield bond funds posted their fourth straight week of outflows, at $800 million. Money market funds took in $8.2 billion, the longest inflow streak since November 2014 at three weeks, the data showed.
Precious metals absorbed $18 million for their second week of inflows. European and Japanese equity funds held out with receipts of $3.7 billion but this was unlikely to endure in event of contagion from emerging markets, the bank said.
Emerging stocks have fallen 15 percent so far this year in dollar terms while many currencies are at multi-year lows against the dollar.
BAML said it was not yet time to venture back into beaten-down emerging assets. It added however that another $15 billion in redemptions in the next two weeks would trigger a “contrarian buy signal” for emerging stocks.
Reporting by Sujata Rao; additional reporting by Sam Forgione in New York; editing by John Stonestreet and W Simon