Investor sentiment in Asia slips

The global State Street Investor Confidence Index is up for the third straight month, but investor confidence in Asia slides.

The global State Street Investor Confidence Index is up by 7 points to 115.5 in June from 108.5 in May, though not all regions tracked by the survey showed a rise -- the Asia index is sliding.

Investor confidence in Asia was down 1.3 points to 92.1, while it was up 6.2 points to 113.6 for North America, and up 21.3 points for Europe. That's the best showing for the European Index since the third quarter of 2006.

June marks the third consecutive month that the global Index has remained above the neutral level of 100, the level above which institutional investors are increasing their allocations to risky assets.

"Notwithstanding some concerns around the long-run sustainability of fiscal positions and the impact of quantitative easing on inflation, institutional investors continue to endorse the long-run outlook," says Ken Froot, a co-developer of the survey at State Street Associates.

Paul O'Connell, also a co-developer of the survey at State Street Associates, says institutional investor confidence has consistently led measures of consumer confidence since the onset of the financial crisis in mid-2007 by one to two months, and it continues to do so now.

In a separate report, Massachusetts-based EPFR Global, which tracks more than $10 trillion in fund assets worldwide, says confidence in Europe's financial plays was bolstered by the European Central Bank's willingness to pump fresh liquidity into the sector. EPFR Global points out, however, that macroeconomic numbers for Europe remain grim, with the service and manufacturing sectors still contracting and rising unemployment adding to the pressure on consumer demand.

The decline in investor sentiment in Asia is supported by data from EPFR Global, which reports that Asia ex-Japan funds suffered a net outflow of $660 million in the week ending June 24. Concerns about whether China can deliver on expectations that it will survive the global financial crisis, largely through a Rmb4 trillion financial stimulus plan, have started to erode confidence in the region.

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