China hard landing fears resurface in survey
Worries that China's economy will slow down more abruptly than forecast have returned on the agenda, a fund managers survey shows
The survey, by BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, showed that expectations for growth in the Chinese economy dropped sharply to 14% of participants from 60% in a previous poll.
This is the lowest level since October last year and represents one of the biggest monthly falls in the reading in the survey's history.
A total of 198 fund managers, managing $578 billion, participated in the global survey, which was carried out by the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research team between March 8 and March 14.
In a similar survey carried out at the beginning of February, China was investors' favourite market.
The analysts said that the "significantly increased" fears of a hard landing in China are reflected in investors' moves out of stocks in emerging markets and into those of developed ones, especially the US and Japan.
"Relative US economic outperformance on the back of the housing markets ongoing improvement and the energy independence story will lead a secular uptrend in the dollar," Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a statement.
"US equities' leadership in the 'Great Rotation' suggests developed market equities are the likeliest winner in this scenario," he added.
Optimism about emerging markets equities in general is fading, with a net 34% of global fund managers reporting an overweight position in this asset class, down from 43% in last month's survey.
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Optimism on Russia, Indonesia and India, however, "improved notably" and even Brazil, which showed a record low weighting last month, improved in March although the consensus of the survey still shows positioning at 11% underweight.
Net overweight positions on Russia are 67%, while on Indonesia and India they are at 44%.
In terms of sectors, investors in emerging markets became increasingly bullish in the discretionary, technology and financials ones, while resources fell further out of favour.
In Asia, investors still favour autos but they became "more constructive" on materials, energy and industrials, the analysts said.
The least favoured sectors in Asia were insurance, utilities and telecoms.
A total of 124 managers, managing US$241 billion, participated in the regional surveys.
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