NET sales of unit trusts dipped to US$9.27 million in September, their lowest level during the third quarter, the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association said yesterday. The industry recorded net sales of nearly $70 million in the quarter, a fall of about $9 million from the second quarter but a 39 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year. The year's top month was May, with net sales of $49 million, and January was the worst, with redemptions exceeding sales by about $47 million. Andrew Lo, vice-chairman of the association, said: 'As the market generally believes that US economic growth has slowed down to a healthy level, and the movement of US interest rates will be downwards, more investors are ready to make investments again.' Also, several key industry players, such as Fidelity Investments and Jardine Fleming, have boosted their distribution outlets through the territory's banks. International funds, whose investment strategy is to spread holdings across global markets and asset categories, were the territory's top sellers, pulling in $31 million during the month. Mr Lo said: 'In response to the lower interest rate environment worldwide, both the bond and the equity markets have benefited. This has been further boosted by a strengthening of the US dollar in the last quarter. 'By providing a mixed portfolio, funds under the international sector enable investors to capitalise on the worldwide investment opportunities effectively.' In seven of the 12 asset classes, investors redeemed more units then they bought in September. Cash funds, typically safe harbour alternatives during bear or turbulent markets, had net redemptions totalling $20 million. Net redemptions amounting to $9 million were recorded among single Asian country funds, excluding Hong Kong, and in Asia-Pacific funds. The Hong Kong market, Asia's top performer, posted net gains of $6.6 million in September. In the third quarter, the four Asian sectors had net gains, with the Asia-Pacific regional sector attracting inflows of $19 million. Japanese equities received $17 million, with the Hong Kong and single Asian country fund sectors each getting $6 million. Cash funds put on the biggest gains of more than $183 million, nearly one quarter of the total. Emerging market funds, which have been hit by poor investor sentiment for most of the year, recorded outflows of nearly $5 million.