One of the more perplexing developments in the end of 2012, when as we pointed out previously US investors scrambled to deposit some $220 billion into the "safety" of savings accounts, resulting in major cash outflows out of US equities - cash which has since been returned, explaining the spike now declining, in equity reallocations back into stocks - ahead of the confusion over the Fiscal Cliff dividend and capital gains tax rates, was how US stocks did not tumble far more on this accelerated withdrawals out of equities. We now have the answer.
As the TIC data reported minutes ago, in addition to purchasing some $30 billion in Treasurys, and $18.1 billion in MBS, as well as $2.6 billion in corporate bonds, foreigners bought a whopping $25.9 billion in US stocks in December, just as US investors were withdrawing over tax-related fears. This followed another $21.5 billion inflow from foreigners in November, and was the highest equity inflow since the $30 billion allocated to US stocks in July 2009. This in turn brings the 6 month moving average to $14.2 billion, also the highest since the summer of 2009. Mystery solved who the banks have to thank for keeping the US stock market afloat in those days in mid to late December when the US equity investors was getting the hell out of dodge.
Total flows broken down by month and category:
And just foreign inflows into equities: