The run-up to the Christmas period saw the biggest weekly net outflow from Chinese equity funds in seven months, with currency concerns blamed for the exodus.
"Fear of a protectionist response by the incoming US administration to the recent depreciation of China's currency was among the factors driving mutual fund investors to the sidelines in late December," said analysts at EPFR Global, a firm that collates data on more than 65,000 funds domiciled around the world.
The money withdrawn from Chinese equity funds in the week ending December 21 contributed to an overall net outflow of $3.7 billion that week from equity funds tracked by the company.
Throughout most of 2016, the renminbi fell steadily against the dollar, reaching an eight-year low at the end of December. US president-elect Donald Trump has previously threatened to label China a "currency manipulator" for apparently devaluing the renminbi to better compete with American manufacturers.
However, the strengthening dollar is at least partly to blame for the imbalance. When compared with a trade-weighted foreign exchange basket set by the Chinese, the renminbi actually rose between November and December to reach a four-month high at the end of the year.
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