TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) – Inflows into Japanese retail investment trust funds fell for the first time in three months in March as purchases by investors slowed after a run of heavy investment, although appetite remained robust.
Japanese individuals, who hold $15 trillion in personal assets still largely in low-yielding bank deposits, have over the last few months been investing heavily in equity funds, including those that put money into the U.S. financial sector and Asian corporations in emerging markets.
Cash-rich retail investors have been keen to invest in investment trust funds, similar to mutual funds and known as toushin, due to improving prospects for the global economy and the recent downward trend in the yen.
The value of initial launches of publicly placed toushin fell 28 percent to 260.3 billion yen ($2.76 billion) in March from the previous month, after posting strong month-on-month gains of 59 percent in February and 30 percent in January, data from Thomson Reuters fund research company Lipper showed.
A toushin from Nomura Asset Management, Japan’s top asset manager, that invested in financial shares in Europe and North America garnered the biggest amount of funds on its first day of launch in March, attracting 83.6 billion yen.
The second largest inflow was into the toushin launched by Societe Generale Asset Management that invested into shares in China, India and Indonesia, generating 49.2 billion yen.
Japanese retail investors started investing heavily in funds related to Brazil in January last year, but such appetite could be slowing with many already exposed to the area. (Reporting by Michiko Iwasaki and Chikafumi Hodo; Editing by Joseph Radford)