Net capital outflows from China accelerated slightly in April, to more than $20 billion, the largest since January. Photo: iStock

Emerging markets saw a fourth straight month of net portfolio inflows above $20 billion from foreign investors in May, putting inflows to the asset class at levels near the so-called commodity super cycle that saw asset prices soar from 2010-14, a survey showed Wednesday. May was also the sixth straight month of net non-resident portfolio inflows, the Institute of International Finance reported.

Funds flowing to emerging markets equities and debt rose to a six-month moving average above the 2010-14 high of $23 billion, the highest level since November 2014.

The IIF estimated that net inflows to emerging markets assets were $20.5 billion this month, with debt and equity markets both receiving about $10 billion. That number was about the same as the total for April and was led by inflows to emerging market assets in Asia.

Emerging Asian markets attracted $17.4 billion combined equity and debt inflows, followed by European emerging markets with $2.5 billion. Inflows to Latin America and assets in Africa and the Middle East were nearly flat.

“This regional breakdown is consistent with the trend observed since the beginning of 2016, in which a large portion of inflows has been directed towards EM Asia,” IIF said in a statement.

“While some of this is due to the relatively large volume of investable securities in the region – as it has seen strong issuance during this period – it also reflects stronger growth performance and deepening financial markets.”

Total capital flows were less positive for the asset class and increased out of China, IIF said.

The company estimated that net capital outflows from China accelerated slightly in April, to more than $20 billion, the largest since January. Additionally, emerging markets net capital inflows, excluding China, remain at multi-year lows, implying subdued banking and FDI flows.

Brazilian and Indian assets were the most heavily bought, as allegations that Brazilian President Michel Temer could be involved in a wide-ranging corruption scandal that has snared dozens of the country’s businessmen and lawmakers appeared to lure investors.

Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index. BVSP sold off nearly 9% after the news broke and foreigners apparently used the sell-off as a buying opportunity. There have been inflows of nearly $600 million since the news broke, IIF said.

India has seen over $17.5 billion of inflows year-to-date, totaling more than 60% of net 2016 inflows.