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Canadian gold equities and bullion ETFs had a combined inflow of $382 million in April — the largest flow into gold ETFs over the past four years, according to a report from National Bank of Canada.

Commodity ETFs had inflows of $153 million during the month, increasing their asset base by 13.6% since the end of March. Gold equity funds also enjoyed a “surge” of interest as investors sought a defensive position following a volatile month.

“Some investors are once again gravitating to gold as a safe-haven asset; others are using it as a tool to hedge against potential inflation arising from supply chain disruption and central bank stimulus,” National Bank stated in the report.

Despite a second straight month of redemptions in fixed-income funds, ETFs had inflows of $655 million in April, led by flows into international equity funds of $575 million.

Canadian and U.S. equity funds had redemptions of $37 million and $28 million, respectively, “despite the market’s fast and steep rally,” the report noted.

“This is a departure from the flow pattern of last month, when investors poured money into equity ETFs across the board while markets were selling off,” the report said.

Although U.S. equity funds recorded net redemptions, flows into technology funds have been strong over the past two months, as U.S. technology sector benchmarks have returned 30% since March 23.

“Tech was already established as a darling of the ‘before times,’ but that sector has turned out to be among the least impacted by the pandemic as working from home becomes the ‘new normal’ for now,” the report said.

Four new ETFs were launched in April, and another was launched on May 1. Of the five new funds, four are ESG ETFs.

Read the full report from National Bank.