(Bloomberg) -- Funds that invest in U.S. leveraged loans registered the largest cash haul on record as investors contend with interest rate hikes that may arrive within just a few months.

The funds drew $2.25 billion of cash for the week ended Jan. 19, according to data from Refinitiv Lipper. That surpasses the previous high of $1.872 billion reached in the Aug. 7, 2013 reporting period amid a taper tantrum, when the Federal Reserve looked to end a bond-purchase program it started in response to the global financial crisis.

Buyers have been piling into the risky debt because its floating-rate payments can serve as a hedge against rising rates. Traders have been pricing in a rate hike as soon as March, which has only intensified the appeal of the asset class. 

Secondary prices on leveraged loans hit the highest since 2007 on Wednesday, underscoring the heavy demand in this rising-rate environment. 

In addition, investors have been turning away from bonds and equities and toward leveraged loans as Treasury yields continue to rise, according to analysts at Citigroup Inc. “We anticipate persisting loan inflows given the ongoing Treasury curve repricing,” Citigroup analysts led by Michael Anderson wrote in a Thursday note. 

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