Investors are snapping up exchange-traded bond funds (ETFs) at the fastest rate since the launch of the first bond ETF in 2002, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.

Bond ETFs listed on U.S. exchanges have seen an inflow of $16 billion this month through Feb. 21, amounting to nearly twice the previous top monthly inflow of $8.4 billion in May 2012, the firm said this week.

The interest has been sparked by uncertain economic data, volatility in emerging markets and a desire for income-generating investments.

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