Q2 – Interest rates and de-risking , drivers of bond ETFs

Brett Olson iShares ETF ETFs

De-risking, e.g. during the Italian turmoil: Flow data suggests that investors used high yield ETFs, which contain significant exposure to Italian assets, to manage risk in their portfolios in the wake of the Italian election and formation of a new coalition Government……

Brett Olson Head of iShares EMEA Fixed income – BlackRock

For example, secondary daily trading volume on the iShares € High Yield Corp Bond UCITS ETF spiked to €621mm in the final week of May compared to the year-to-date average of €321mm

In contrast, Government bond ETFs are the top inflow category this year due to equity market volatility, concerns about the credit cycle and the desire to shorten portfolio duration, with the bulk of inflows seen in US treasury ETFs

Preparing for rising rates: Following greater clarity from the Fed, investors are using ETFs to position portfolios for rising rates. Floating rate bond ETFs proved to be a popular solution for investors globally – FLOT LN gathered $297mm in AUM in Q2. In addition, the iShares Euro FRN UCITS ETF (EFRN) launched on 28th June to provide access to Euro-denominated EURIBOR floaters.

Emerging trends

ESG gaining traction: Fixed income investors are increasingly looking to integrate ESG standards into their portfolios. A report from the Principles for Responsible Investment, published in April, highlighted that “with the global bond market worth more than $120tn, bondholders have the potential to become a major force in responsible investing.”  The road is wide open here.

The MiFID II effect

Between January and June this year, 74% more trading on the iShares UCITs bond ETF range was visible – where it would not have been before MiFID II came into force. This new visibility is helping investors become comfortable that the industry is big and liquid enough to be an efficient way to invest. iShares’ top six most traded bond ETFs in EMEA saw $70bn in trading volume over Q2 2018.

Source all data: BlackRock as at 30 June 2018. All figures in USD.


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