(Reuters) - Asian equities recorded their biggest foreign inflow in at least 12 years in November, data showed, as promising developments related to COVID-19 vaccines bolstered expectations of a faster regional recovery from the pandemic.
According to stock exchange data, cross-border investors purchased a combined total of $17.5 billion in Indian, Indonesian, Philippine, South Korean, Taiwanese, Thai and Vietnamese stocks in November, the biggest since at least 2008.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index gained 9% last month, the biggest in seven months, thanks to breakthroughs in vaccine developments from top drugmakers Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca along with a market-friendly outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
Graphic: Foreign investments in Asian equities
“Foreigners have been very underweight in Asia although we have seen quite a bit of buying off late. Its starting from a very low base and foreign investors still have plenty of room to increase their Asian weightings,” said Dan Fineman, co-head of Asia Pacific Equity Strategy at Credit Suisse.
“Our favorite market is Korea, we also like Hong Kong, Singapore and we have overweight in Thailand and China.”
Indian equities lured an inflow of $8.13 billion last month, the highest in the region. South Korea and Taiwan saw foreign buying of $5.2 billion and $3.1 billion respectively.
On the other hand, foreigners sold Philippine equities for a 13th successive month on worries over its economic growth.
Though the region had heavy foreign purchases last month, the inflows were much smaller compared with the outflows faced in March.
Asian equities’ total foreign outflows were $34.1 billion in the first 11 months of this year, the data showed.
Goldman Sachs expects Asia’s value stocks to outperform growth stocks as the foreigners return to the regional equities after heavily dumping them earlier this year.
“Historically, value outperformed Growth 3 out of 4 times when FII rebought Asian equities right after major sell-offs, which suggests the current value outperformance could run further given continued FII inflows in the near term,” it said.
Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru, Editing by Ed Osmond
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