Money fund assets grew by $18.06 billion to $3.520 trillion this week and are just $16.4 billion below their all-time record of $3.536 trillion set the week ended April 9. Institutional assets rose by $13.91 billion to a record $$2.292 trillion. Retail assets, meanwhile, rose $4.15 billion, to $1.227 trillion; they remain $42 billion below their pre-income tax payment record level.

Year-to-date, money funds assets have increased by a robust $375.5 billion, or 11.9%, and their gains over 52 weeks remain eye-popping, up $992 billion, or 39.2%. Institutional money funds, which represent 65% of the overall total, have increased assets by $310 billion, or 15.6%. Retail money funds have lagged YTD with asset growth of a "mere" $65 billion, or 5.6%.

Money market mutual funds continue to experience strong growth following two of their best years in history for asset gains. In 2007, money fund assets rose by over $752 billion (32.0%), by far their largest increase ever, and in 2006, money funds jumped almost $314 billion, their 3rd best showing ever. (In 2001, money fund assets increased by $440 billion, or 23.8%.)

Money funds continued to benefit from their competitors' woes, as cash from ultra-short bond funds, enhanced cash funds and a host of frozen or underwater formerly higher-yielding short-term "safe" assets flee into sectors that continue to maintain principal and liquidity. Money funds assets also continue to benefit from a long-term trend away from banks and towards funds, and a reversal of the decades long push for pension, stock and other funds to remain fully invested.

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