(Bloomberg) -- Investors are pulling out of U.K. equity funds at the fastest pace in five years as the spreading coronavirus roils markets.

About 1.55 billion pounds ($2 billion) was withdrawn in the final week of February, according to Calastone Ltd., the largest weekly amount since the firm began collecting data in 2015. Nearly all of the outflows were from actively managed funds, with passive rivals relatively unscathed.

“Fear ate greed for lunch in the last few days of February,” said Edward Glyn, Calastone’s head of global markets. “The news that the epidemic had taken hold in Italy and then quickly spread across the world caused a dramatic reassessment of its potential impact on the global economy.”

The outflows are a further sign that the coronavirus is hammering investor confidence. More than 93,000 cases have been confirmed so far and attempts to contain the epidemic have disrupted business across the globe.

The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed interest rates by half a percentage point on Tuesday, the biggest single cut since the global financial crisis, after markets plunged last week. Wall Street was unimpressed by the rate cut and equities continued their decline.

Organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank have announced plans to restrict non-essential travel, while Google decided to call off its flagship conference.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at espence11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at ssmith118@bloomberg.net, Chris Bourke, Patrick Henry

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