The Investment Company Institute released its latest "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing – December 2019" and "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds" reports yesterday, as well as its latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" update. Their most recent numbers show that money fund assets increased by $67.0 billion to $3.632 trillion in December, but they've fallen year-to-date in 2020. Last month's increase follows increases of $47.0 billion in November, $77.4 billion in October and $74.4 billion in September. For the 12 months through Dec. 31, 2019, money fund assets increased by $595.0 billion, or 19.6%.

ICI's "Trends" release states, "The combined assets of the nation's mutual funds increased by $406.95 billion, or 1.9 percent, to $21.29 trillion in December, according to the Investment Company Institute's official survey of the mutual fund industry. In the survey, mutual fund companies report actual assets, sales, and redemptions to ICI."

It explains, "Bond funds had an inflow of $36.59 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $34.96 billion in November.... Money market funds had an inflow of $63.67 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $44.19 billion in November. In December funds offered primarily to institutions had an inflow of $39.57 billion and funds offered primarily to individuals had an inflow of $24.19 billion."

ICI's latest statistics show that Taxable MMFs gained assets last month while Tax Exempt MMFs lost assets. Taxable MMFs increased by $67.0 billion in December to $3.632 trillion. Tax-Exempt MMFs decreased $0.7 billion in December to $137.6 billion. Taxable MMF assets increased year-over-year by $602.0 billion (20.8%). Tax-Exempt funds fell by $7.7 billion over the past year (-0.05%). Bond fund assets increased by $50.3 billion in December (0.1%) to $4.704 trillion; they've risen by $643.1 billion (15.8%) over the past year.

Money funds represent 17.1% of all mutual fund assets (the same as the previous month), while bond funds account for 22.1%, according to ICI. The total number of money market funds was 364, up one from the month prior and down from 368 a year ago. Taxable money funds numbered 284 funds, and tax-exempt money funds numbered 80 funds.

ICI's "Month-End Portfolio Holdings" update confirms an increase in Repo and Agencies and a drop in Treasuries last month. Repurchase Agreements remained in first place among composition segments; they increased by $62.8 billion, or -5.6%, to $1.180 trillion, or 33.8% of holdings. Repo holdings have risen $160.7 billion, or 15.8%, over the past year. (See our Jan. 13 News, "Jan MF Portfolio Holdings: Big FICC Repo, Agency Rebound; CDs, CP Drop.")

Treasury holdings in Taxable money funds decreased by $4.6 billion, or -0.4%, to $1.036 billion, or 29.7% of holdings. Treasury securities have increased by $136.0 billion, or 18.7%, over the past 12 months. U.S. Government Agency securities were the third largest segment; they increased $38.8 billion, or 5.4%, to $755.0 billion, or 21.6% of holdings. Agency holdings have risen by $110.7 billion, or 17.2%, over the past 12 months.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) stood in fourth place; they decreased by $24.5 billion, or -8.7%, to $257.1 billion (7.4% of assets). CDs held by money funds have grown by $66.5 billion, or 34.9%, over 12 months. Commercial Paper remained in fifth place, down $13.4 billion, or -5.5%, to $232.2 billion (6.6% of assets). CP has increased by $43.5 billion, or 23.0%, over one year. Notes (including Corporate and Bank) were down $811 million, or -6.4%, to $11.8 billion (0.3% of assets), while Other holdings decreased to $1.7 billion to $14.0 billion.

The Number of Accounts Outstanding in ICI's series for taxable money funds increased by 266.8 thousand to 37.223 million, while the Number of Funds increased by one from last month to 284. Over the past 12 months, the number of accounts rose by 3.948 million and the number of funds decreased by three. The Average Maturity of Portfolios was 37 days, one less than in November. Over the past 12 months, WAMs of Taxable money have increased by six.

ICI's latest weekly "MMF Assets" report shows money fund assets declining in the latest week. It explains, "Total money market fund assets decreased by $12.79 billion to $3.62 trillion for the week ended Wednesday, January 29, the Investment Company Institute reported today. Among taxable money market funds, government funds decreased by $11.11 billion and prime funds increased by $96 million. Tax-exempt money market funds decreased by $1.78 billion." ICI's weekly series shows Institutional MMFs falling $11.0 billion and Retail MMFs decreasing $1.8 billion. Total Government MMF assets, including Treasury funds, were $2.689 trillion (74.1% of all money funds), while Total Prime MMFs were $794.8 billion (21.9%). Tax Exempt MMFs totaled $136.9 billion, 3.8%.

Money fund assets are now down year-to-date in 2020 (down $11B, or -0.3%), but they've increased in 11 out of the last 15 weeks. Over the past 52 weeks, ICI's money fund asset series has increased by $583 billion, or 19.2%, with Retail MMFs rising by $190 billion (16.0%) and Inst MMFs rising by $393 billion (21.2%).

ICI explains, "Assets of retail money market funds decreased by $1.78 billion to $1.38 trillion. Among retail funds, government money market fund assets decreased by $2.01 billion to $779.60 billion, prime money market fund assets increased by $1.77 billion to $472.16 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $1.54 billion to $124.98 billion." Retail assets account for over a third of total assets, or 38.0%, and Government Retail assets make up 56.6% of all Retail MMFs.

The release adds, "Assets of institutional money market funds decreased by $11.01 billion to $2.24 trillion. Among institutional funds, government money market fund assets decreased by $9.10 billion to $1.91 trillion, prime money market fund assets decreased by $1.67 billion to $322.59 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $237 million to $11.94 billion." Institutional assets accounted for 62.0% of all MMF assets, with Government Institutional assets making up 85.1% of all Institutional MMF totals. Money fund assets ended 2019 with their fastest growth rate and biggest asset increase since 2008. Assets increased by more than 2 1/2 times 2018's 7.2% gain.

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