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Japan equity funds suffer largest ever weekly outflows

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Japanese equity funds have seen the largest even outflows in US dollar terms as investors rushed for safe-haven cash, latest data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch reveals.

In the week to 9 October investors pulled $1.7bn (£1.1bn) from Japanese equity funds, the largest ever weekly outflow in US dollar terms and the highest since December 2011 as a percentage of AUM.

Japanese equities have been popular with many investors this year as they continue to back the country’s Abenomics programme of reforms.

However, so far this year Japan’s Nikkei 225 index has failed to repeat the spectacular gains of 2013, when it rose 57 per cent: year to date it is down 4.7 per cent.

A tough week for global equities generally saw added problems for Japan on Tuesday as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) significantly downgraded its 2014 GDP growth forecast for the country from 1.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent.

Japanese equity funds were not the only ones hit by outflows: emerging market equity funds lost $3.5bn, European equity portfolios saw outflows of $1.7bn and US equity funds shed $5.5bn.

Among worries about the global economic outlook, investors have piled into cash and bonds. Money market funds saw massive inflows of $47bn, while bonds attracted $15.8bn over the week.

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