US fund assets dropped 2% during the first quarter of 2003, while fund assets of other nations climbed 2.5% during the same period, due at least in part to weaknesses in the US dollar, which moved lower against most currencies, ICI said in its latest Worldwide Mutual Fund Assets and Flows report.
Elsewhere around the globe, equity fund assets dropped 4.2% over the quarter with most equity markets still under selling pressure and many European and several Asia-Pacific exchanges suffering double-digit losses. Global bond fund assets popped up 5.7%, with particular strength in Europe and the Americas.
From an asset flow standpoint, ICI reported that net flows were $13 billion over the quarter, down substantially from $153 billion during the previous quarter. The biggest culprit: a $56 billion net outflow from money market funds, which reversed a $117-billion net inflow in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, equity funds posted a $14-billion first quarter outflow with weakness clear in the US, Canada and most European markets.
Bond net inflows were strong during the period with an $87 billion inflow, representing 3.6% of fund assets of the 27 countries reporting net flow data.
At quarter end, 36% of all worldwide fund assets were in equity funds, money funds held 29% of assets while bond funds had 24%, ICI reported. By the end of the period, the number of funds worldwide was 53,150 including 43% in equities, 22% in bonds, 21% were balanced/mixed, and 9% were money market funds.
The ICI report is at www.ici.org/stats/mf/ww_03_03.html .