China, India hedge funds reverse trends

China-focused hedge funds' strong July gains put them narrowly into the black for the year, while India strategies fell slightly last month as post-election euphoria waned.
China, India hedge funds reverse trends

China-focused hedge funds had a bumper month in July, while India strategies fell back slightly, both going against their trends for the year. This came amid a bad month for hedge funds globally.

China funds' 4% return last month put them into positive territory for the year with an overall gain of 0.66%, according to eVestment. That followed last year’s return of 15.89%.

That rise may partly be explained by the country's equity market. The CSI 300, which represents stocks on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges, rose 8.29% in July.

With post-election euphoria waning, India strategies lost 0.39% last month, said eVestment. That followed a gain of 4.16% in June, according to Hedge Fund Research (HFR). They have still posted a gain of 32.24% for the year.

Japan strategies continued their poor showing this year, gaining just 0.02% in July to end the first seven months down 1.74%, a far cry from last year's rise of 34.33%.

Hedge funds globally had a bad month in July, according to both eVestment (recording a return of 0.35%) and HFR (0.79%). They are up 2.45% for the year, according to HFR, and 2.58% according to eVestment.

Emerging-market strategies gained 0.85% in July, said HFR, with the biggest contribution to the rise coming from Asia strategies.

Meanwhile, macro strategies declined 0.70% in tepid equity and debt markets against a backdrop of the Argentinean sovereign default and conflict in the Middle East.

Of the primary market segments, broad financial derivatives strategies produced the best returns, of 1.10% in July, according to eVestment.

“Emerging markets, macro multi and currency hedge funds have effectively navigated the fluid macroeconomic environment in recent months as many positive beta trends have deteriorated or reversed, producing attractive, negatively correlated gains through global equity pullback, high-yield credit widening and the systemic shock of a sovereign default,” said Kenneth Heinz, HFR’s president.

Of the 31 strategies that HFR tracks, 23 posted declines last month, up from just three in June and two in May.

The second quarter saw inflows of $30.5 billion into hedge funds, taking assets under management to more than $2.8 trillion, according to HFR, which did not break out figures for July. The biggest chunk, $18.3 billion, went into fixed income-based relative-value arbitrage in the first half.

Event driven attracted $11.7 billion and equity hedge received $4.9 billion in the second quarter.

Macro funds saw outflows of $4.3 billion in the second quarter, taking total redemptions to $9.6 billion in the first six months, according to HFR. This strategy has recorded performance declines from 2011 to 2014 year-to-date.

Quantitative/CTA strategies saw the second biggest outflows, $3.7 billion, taking net outflows to $5.8 billion for the year to end-July.

The hedge fund industry's biggest firms are maintaining their dominance of inflows. Firms managing more than $5 billion attracted $21.2 billion in funds in the second quarter, while those managing between $1 billion and $5 billion attracted $1.8 billion. In the first half, 92% of inflows went to firms managing over $1 billion.

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