Canadian investors shifted their assets away from Canadian equity ETFs in April and moved toward U.S. and international equity ETFs, according to Montreal-based National Bank Financial Ltd.’s (NBF) latest monthly report on Canadian ETF flows.
Canadian ETFs had an inflow of $706 million in April, bringing assets under management (AUM) to a new total of $153 billion, NBF reported.
Canadian equity funds had outflows of $391 million during the month, led by a large $380-million redemption from iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index ETF (TSX symbol: XIU). In contrast, U.S. equity funds had inflows of $432 million in AUM and international equity funds attracted $239 million in AUM. International equity ETFs were led by index-tracking passive products for emerging-market and Europe, Australasia and Far East regions, according to NBF.
Sector-wise, Canadian financial services sector ETFs suffered redemptions amid macroeconomic uncertainties, such as NAFTA negotiations and household indebtedness, according to NBF. Sectors such as energy and technology, though, attracted investor dollars as they enjoyed higher monthly total returns compared with the broader S&P/TSX composite index.
Fixed-income funds, meanwhile, attracted $130 million in AUM in April, as investors shifted out of high-yield and investment-grade bond funds and into government bond ETFs.
“On the fixed-income side, investors continue to upgrade along the credit spectrum,” the report says.
The multi-asset category attracted $297 million in AUM in April, led by some recent product launches, close-end fund conversions and covered-call ETFs.
Leading sales among all ETFs during the month was Mackenzie U.S. Large Cap Equity Index ETF (QUU), which launched in January. The ETF had inflows of $97 million in AUM in April.
In the first four months of 2018, Canadian ETFs have attracted $8.4 billion in inflows, which is on par with last year’s numbers. International equity ETFs have been the strongest category so far this year, with inflows of $2.79 billion.
“International equity is showing strong demand as investors re-evaluate the U.S. equity market in the current (possibly late) stage of the economic cycle,” the NBF report says.
BMO Europe High Dividend Covered Call ETF (ZWP), which launched in March, has been the most popular ETF so far in 2018, with inflows of $1.02 billion.