Japan hedge funds post ‘worst start to year on record’

Asia-focused hedge funds – especially India and Japan strategies – continued their heavy slide last month, while emerging-market and global mandates made slight gains.
Japan hedge funds post ‘worst start to year on record’

Hedge funds focused on global and emerging-market mandates recorded slight gains last month, but Asia strategies continued their 2016 slide. In fact, Japan mandates posted their worst start to a year on record, according to data provider Eurekahedge.

Japan funds lost -3.31% in February to post a -5.49% drop for 2016, by Eurekahedge figures. The declines were even bigger, according to Hedge Fund Research data (-4.00% last month and -6.99% for the year).

India funds are faring even worse, by HFR figures: down -10.21% last month and -17.92% for 2016.

Overall, Asia ex-Japan strategies saw a better February than January, but were still well down for 2016 (down -2.06% for last month and -6.90% for the year, said Eurekahedge; -1.96% and -9.99%, said HFR).

EM strategies enjoyed a rare bright spot in February, said Eurekahedge, rising 0.15%, but still down 3.07% for 2016 (or +0.25% for the month and down -5.23% for the year, by HFR data). This was only the second monthly increase for EM funds in the trailing 10 months, according to HFR.

Globally hedge funds bounced into positive territory with a gain of +0.50% (according to both data providers), but still down for the year (Eurekahedge: -1.11%; HFR: -1.97%).

Long/short equity mandates are the worst performers for 2016, down -4.16% (Eurekahedge) and -4.55% (HFR).

The clear leaders this year are trend-following, systematic strategies. The Eurekahedge CTA/Managed Futures Hedge Fund Index rose +3.11% last month to return +4.81% for 2016. The HFRI Macro: Systematic Diversified Index added +3.0% in February, bringing year-to-date performance to +5.6%. HFR put this gain down to oil reversing steep losses and sterling falling sharply against dollar and yen.

Kenneth Heinz, president of HFR, said: “The volatile and uncertain current market environment, dominated by both powerful trends and sharp reversals, has shifted to favour macro strategies and specifically quantitative, trend-following CTA strategies.

“February was significant as it clearly demonstrated performance generation across a wide continuum of assets, ranging broadly from fixed income to currencies to natural gas to agriculturals, and demonstrated the ability to generate gains on both long and short positions.”

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