close up of woman counting money with calculator calculations

ETF flows in Canada were steady last month, with fixed-income funds — cash products, in particular — making up for redemptions of U.S. and other broad equity ETFs.

Fixed-income products accounted for $1.9 billion of May’s $2.6-billion total creations, according to a report from National Bank Financial. Once again, money market ETFs were the key driver, attracting almost $1 billion.

“The craze for money market or cash-like’ exposure seems unstoppable, especially now that these ETFs are yielding close to 5%,” National Bank said.

The funds have brought in $4.8 billion this year. Their popularity is one reason the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is reviewing banks’ liquidity adequacy requirements as it considers the risks from cash-like ETFs. Some providers have suggested that an Aug. 1 deadline to potentially reclassify deposits could affect the rates the ETFs offer.

Canadian aggregate bond ETFs also had another solid month, bringing in $522 million in May.

National Bank noted that investors appear to be taking a “barbell approach” to fixed income this year: ultra short- and ultra long-term ETFs have the largest inflows, while short-term products have lost assets.

Canadian ETFs have brought in $15.3 billion this year, with fixed-income funds accounting for $9.2 billion, the report said.

On the equity side, U.S. funds saw outflows again, with $488 million in redemptions. Canadian funds more than made up the difference, drawing $640 million, led by $300 million for financial sector ETFs.

“The big Canadian banks unveiled disappointing second-quarter earnings in May and their share prices underperformed as a result, but ETF investors were undeterred,” the report said.

The international equity category brought in $433 million led by emerging markets and Japan. The report noted that all-time highs for the Japanese stock market may have contributed to the inflows.

The funds with the largest redemptions last month were all broad, developed-market equity index ETFs.

Multi-asset ETFs brought in $156 million in May, the majority going to asset allocation funds, while crypto ETFs continued to lose assets. Crypto funds saw $81 million in redemptions in May, bringing year-to-date outflows to $302 million.