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March foreign flows into Asian bonds the highest since January 2018

An Indian one rupee coin is seen in this picture illustration taken in Mumbai April 30, 2012. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/Files

(Reuters) - Foreign inflows into Asian bonds surged in March as lower U.S. yields and hopes for a Sino-U.S. trade deal boosted demand for regional assets.

Overseas investors bought a net $5 billion of regional bonds in March, highest since January 2018, data from central banks and bond market associations in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and India showed.

Indian and Indonesian bonds - the two with highest yields in the region - both received net foreign inflows of $1.7 billion in March.

Rising optimism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come back to power in India's over-a-month-long polls also bolstered foreign inflows into Indian bonds last month. However, there have been outflows so far in April as a sharp increase in crude oil prices has stoked concerns about India's fiscal position.

South Korea and Malaysian bonds also attracted net foreign buying, of $1.2 billion and $721 million respectively, in March.

But foreigners were net sellers of $486 million of Thai bonds last month as delays in final results from Thailand's first election since a 2014 coup added to uncertainties facing the slowing economy.

Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian bonds

Graphic: Real yield of Asian bonds

(Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru)