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ETF Inflows Hit Record Highs in 2017

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Jan. 3 2018, Published 6:57 a.m. ET

Record ETF inflows

With the addition of $475 billion, ETF inflows have broken all of the records in 2017. The previous record was $287.5 billion in 2016. December saw inflows worth $51 billion, mainly triggered by the tax bill. Total ETF assets were ~$3.4 trillion at the end of 2017.

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US equity tops the list

US equity (JPM) (BAC) (C) (MS) was the most popular asset class in 2017. It added $179.7 billion during the year. The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) witnessed the highest inflows worth $30.2 billion during the year. Its total AUM (assets under management) was $141.9 billion—the second ETF in history to exceed the $100 billion mark. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) added $14.7 billion, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) garnered $11.1 billion.

Investors going global

International equity was the second most popular asset class with inflows worth $160.2 billion. The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) added the second-highest inflows of $20.9 billion. The other popular ETFs that focused on international markets included the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) with the addition of $16.6 billion and $9.3 billion, respectively.

US fixed income collected $109.1 billion, while international fixed income had $16.9 billion during the year.

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Prominent outflows

The top three ETFs that saw the largest outflows during the year included the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ), and the Xtrackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (DBEF) with outflows of $2.9 billion, $2.6 billion, and $1.8 billion, respectively.

Upcoming events

The US will release the unemployment rate for December and the balance of trade data for November. The US unemployment rate was at 4.1% in November. Canada will also release the balance of trade data for November and the unemployment rate for December. Germany will announce the unemployment rate for December, while Australia will report the balance of trade data for November.

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