Worldwide assets in money market mutual funds totaled $4.957 trillion at the end of the 4th quarter 2007, up $293 billion from their level of $4.664 trillion in Q3, says the latest "Worldwide Mutual Fund Assets and Flows" compiled by U.S. mutual fund trade association The Investment Company Institute. New inflows accounted for $244 billion of money funds' increase, down from Q3's blistering $279 billion. Money funds increased by $1.09 trillion in 2007 and now account for 18.9% of the worldwide total of $26.2 trillion in overall mutual fund assets.

Flows into U.S. money funds were $267 billion in Q4, while "the rest of the world experienced net outflows from money funds," says the report. "European money market funds had net outflows of $19 billion in the fourth quarter versus net outflows of $27 billion in the third quarter," says ICI. While Dublin- and Luxembourg-based IMMFA-style "Liquidity" funds (see previous News story) continue to experience inflows, France, the second largest money fund market, experienced sharp outflows.

The U.S. continued to dominate the space, accounting for 62.6% of worldwide money fund assets ($3.1 trillion) as of Q4'08. France ranks second with $632.9 billion, and Luxembourg ranks third with $386.2 billion. (Ireland likely should have ranked second or third, but its total $951 billion in mutual fund assets are not broken out by asset type. We assume over half of these assets are money funds though, since Dublin is the preferred domicile for "offshore" money funds.) Australia is the next largest market, with $210.6 billion in money funds, followed by Italy's $104 billion.

Assets have undoubtedly broken above $5 trillion year-to-date in 2008, as U.S. money market assets increased by over $350 billion in the first quarter of 2008 to $3.499 trillion. If the rest of the world's money fund assets remained flat, this would push overall worldwide money fund totals over $5.3 trillion in Q108. (Click here ICI's full "Supplementary Tables".)

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