NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Each month, the ETF Industry Association) analyzes the assets under management and the net cash flow data for a growing list of U.S. exchange-traded funds. The net cash inflow of $55.9 billion in the first quarter of 2012 set a new record high above all other first quarter results. The popularity of exchange-traded products continues to grow with both long-term investors and speculative traders. At $1.21 trillion as of March 31st, the assets under management in exchange-traded products, including both exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, has grown by 12% over Mar. 2011. All of the asset and flow data included in this article was released on Wednesday, Apr. 4th by the ETF Industry Association.
In Mar. 2012 alone exchange-traded net inflows topped $13.2 billion. Of that total, $7.5 billion flowed into long U.S. equity funds with $251 million flowing out of short U.S. equity funds. Global and international equity ETFs were also strong in March with $1.6 billion in inflows. This was topped by the $4.1 billion flowing into long fixed income ETFs. Real estate fund flows remained positive at $443 million. Recent strength in the U.S. dollar sent $216 million out of long commodity ETFs and $484 million out of long currency ETFs. Some of the largest Mar. 2012 inflows included $3.6 billion to SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY), $735 million to Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ( VWO), $779 million to PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ), $697 million to iShares S&P 500 ( IVV), and $579 million to Vanguard S&P 500 ( VOO). Some of the largest Mar. 2012 outflows included $1.5 billion from iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM), $1.2 billion from iShares MSCI-EAFE ( EFA), $1.2 billion from MidCap SPDR ( MDY), and $688 million from iShares MSCI-Brazil ( EWZ). -- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla. For additional Investment Research check out our Ratings Research Center.