Asia stocks luring biggest foreign flows since 2013

Asia stocks luring biggest foreign flows since 2013

Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan Nov 10, 2020. (Reuters file photo)
Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan Nov 10, 2020. (Reuters file photo)

Foreign investors are piling money into major Asian equity markets outside of China at the fastest pace in seven years this quarter, as vaccine successes add to the global risk-on mood.

Nine regional stock markets have lured a combined $48 billion since Oct 1, the most since the fourth quarter of 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Japan is leading the way with $27.4 billion, followed by India at $9.2 billion. South Korea and Taiwan have attracted at least $5.5 billion each this quarter.

Funds have also flowed into South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

A series of encouraging results from vaccine makers have lent fresh impetus to the Asian equity rally spurred by Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election and the signing of a regional trade pact. Benchmark stock indexes in India and South Korea hit all-time highs this month, while in Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average has surged to a 29-year peak amid a rotation into cheap cyclical shares.

“A relatively well-handled pandemic situation across Asia-Pacific may have also boosted investment confidence in the region,” said Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX. “A catch-up rally may continue as investors reshuffle their portfolio in favour of cyclical sectors, which are perceived to benefit most from recent vaccine breakthroughs.”

Meanwhile, Asian shares’ better overall performance this month -- including Chinese stocks -- has helped the region overtake the US in terms of year-to-date gains. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is now up more than 12% in 2020, versus an advance of close to 11% for the S&P 500 Index.

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