LONDON (Reuters) - Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) withdrew more money from global stock and bond markets in the third quarter of 2017, albeit at a slower pace with net outflows of $3.7 billion, data from research firm eVestment showed on Thursday.
This was down from the second quarter’s $7.7 billion of redemptions and the first quarter’s whopping $22.7 billion, but it still marked the 13th straight quarter of withdrawals.
Oil-backed sovereign funds have been under pressure since oil prices tumbled from their mid-2014 highs of $115 a barrel to below $30 a barrel in January 2016, forcing governments to dig into their coffers to fill budget gaps.
Oil prices have since stabilized and currently trade around $60 a barrel. Some of the worst-hit governments have also tapped global bond markets for cash, relieving some of this pressure.
The figures from eVestment, which collates data from around 4,400 firms managing money on behalf of institutional investors, showed that net outflows were the smallest since the second quarter of 2014, which was the last positive quarter.
There was also a 37 percent reduction in the outflows year-on-year, with some $34 billion pulled from third party asset managers in the first three quarters, down from $53.9 billion over the same period in 2016.
“My sense is that whatever the driving factor which has caused so many SWF assets to be removed from external asset managers, has for the most part stabilized,” said Peter Laurelli, global head of research at eVestment.
However, some 64 percent of investment products with SWF assets still experienced net outflows in the third quarter, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter.
Equity strategies continued to shoulder the bulk of the redemptions, with some $5.79 billion of net outflows. This was down from $11.7 billion in the second quarter and $18.6 billion in the first quarter.
Within the equity segment, Laurelli said redemptions were primarily from U.S. passively managed S&P 500 strategies and global core equities.
This is notwithstanding a sustained rally in U.S. and world equity indices this year.
Fixed income products pulled in $2 billion and emerging market hard currency debt attracted $528.3 million. This was, however, offset by redemptions of $572.3 million from blended currency emerging market bond strategies.
Reporting by Claire Milhench; Editing by Hugh Lawson