By Abhirup Roy
MUMBAI - India's equity mutual funds had outflows last month for the first time in more than four years as investors, worried by a share price crash in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, took their money out as stock prices recovered.
Mutual funds that invest in equity showed a net outflow of 24.80 billion rupees ($331.02 million) in July compared with an inflow of 2.41 billion rupees in June, data published on Monday by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) showed.
India's stock markets plummeted in March but have since recovered more than 50%, helped mainly by inflows from foreign investors as central banks around the world cut rates to counter an economic slowdown caused by lockdowns to contain the virus.
"The recovery has come as a relief to many investors who came in after the 2016-17 rally and saw their investments plunge due to the COVID crash," Omkeshwar Singh, head of mutual fund advisory firm RankMF, said.
"There is a sense of fatigue and with the situation still uncertain, many are choosing to exit even without a profit," he said.
Inflows into equity mutual funds have been slowing since April as a strict two-month lockdown in India to curb the spread of the virus halted business and triggered job losses and salary cuts.
India's mutual fund industry, with assets under management of more than 27 trillion rupees, has grown rapidly over the past decade, especially with the rising popularity of Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs), which allow investors to invest a fixed amount regularly in mutual fund schemes.
But the contribution in SIPs - typically sticky even in turbulent markets - have also been falling in the past few months and dropped to 78.31 billion rupees in July from 79.27 billion rupees in June.
(Reporting by Abhirup Roy. Editing by Jane Merriman)