The study said the Chinese central bank, PBOC, and others had become "major players on world equity markets", effectively fuelling stock bubbles in much the same way they previously fuelled credit bubbles. "It appears that PBOC itself has been directly buying minority equity stakes in important European companies," it said.

It is possible that central banks are simply rotating from bonds into equities, deemed less vulnerable to a bond sell-off if inflation picks up again. Mr Nordvig said Nomura's data capture all of the flows and these show that pace is slowing. "I would miss it only if the money was being funnelled into a secret sovereign wealth fund," he said.''

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