Second-quarter activity in Asia's exchange-traded fund (ETF) markets reflected reduced liquidity and trading volumes in general across the region, according to figures published yesterday by US asset manager BlackRock. ETF assets, on the other hand, were sharply up.

In Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, from December to June, ETF assets rose by 25% and the number of ETFs increased by 38.6%, with 53 new launches and two delistings. Average daily trading volume fell by 26.1% to $659.6 million.

In Japan, ETF assets were up by 3.1% to $25.4 billion, the number of ETFs rose by 4.4% with three new listings, and daily trading volume dropped by 23.5% to $117.9 million.

As for individual firms, China Asset Management saw its Asia-Pacific ex-Japan average daily turnover more than halve since December, from $335.2 million to $147.9 million last quarter. That saw iShares -- BlackRock's ETF unit -- jump into top spot for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan turnover, with an average daily figure of $150.5 million.

Meanwhile, China's Harvest Fund Management leapt to fourth in the table for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan ETF assets under management, after listing its first two ETFs in the second quarter. The firm now manages $4.6 billion in ETF assets, giving it a market share of 9.5%, just behind Hang Seng Investment Management and just ahead of China Asset Management.

The top two Asia-Pacific ex-Japan ETF managers by assets remain State Street Global Advisors and iShares, in that order. However, both lost market share in the second quarter, with SSgA's share slipping by 4.7% to 20.2% ($9.9 billion), while iShares's fell by 3.1% to 17% ($8.3 billion), suggesting new entrants and smaller players are chipping away at their dominance.

In Japan, Nomura Asset Management is still way out in front with a 52.1% ($13.2 billion) share of the market by assets, and Nikko Asset Management is in second place with a 22.5% ($5.7 billion) market share. But both of them lost market share in Q2 (Nomura by 2.2% and Nikko by 0.9%). Meanwhile, Mitsubishi UFJ more than doubled its slice of the pie by 2.6% to 4.7%, thanks to its ETF AUM rising from $0.7 billion to $1.2 billion.