Sharply lower oil prices are widely hailed as a positive for most Asian markets, but that hasn't slowed fund outflows or raised growth forecasts much.
Over the past week, foreign investors have pulled around $2.16 billion out of Asia Pacific focused mutual funds and exchange-traded stock funds, according to data from Jefferies. That's despite oil prices dropping last week to their lowest levels since 2009, the seventh straight week of declines – a move widely seen as a positive for a region where most countries are net oil importers.
"It's clearly beneficial to Asia," said Stuart Rae, chief investment officer for Pacific Basin equities at AllianceBernstein. But he added, "It's not as direct as you might think."
In the U.S., oil's share of consumption -- including gasoline for cars -- comes in around 6 percent for the average consumer and 12 percent for the poorest 20 percent of consumers, Rae estimated. Separately, Societe Generale has estimated the oil price drop would free up an average of $700 per U.S. household this year.
"That's an instant boost for consumption in the U.S. The same is not true in Asia because you don't have the same penetration of cars," Rae said. "There's not a direct pass through to the average consumer … it's second order."