Commodities have fallen sharply out of favour among institutional investors in the past three months, according to a Barclays Capital survey.
Just 15 per cent of nearly 900 respondents expect commodities to be the best performing asset class in the coming three months, down from 41 per cent previously. Commodities have plunged from being the most popular asset class to the least popular, with a fifth of investors favouring equities and nearly a third bonds.
“It’s global growth that matters for commodities and we’ve seen a range of countries reporting slightly lower growth expectations,” said Paul Robinson, head of global foreign exchange research at BarCap.
The asset class has fallen more than 15 per cent since early April, according to the S&P GCSI, a broad commodity index.
Investors may be less optimistic about the future, but no one is predicting a meltdown, said Mr Robinson. “People are worried, but there’s very low conviction out there. There are many different worries, but some of these worries point in opposite directions.”
Expectations for emerging market inflation, for example, are either for high inflation leading to tighter monetary policy or slowing economic growth leading to inflation that is uncomfortably low.
The Chinese economy is a major source of uncertainty, with 67 per cent of emerging markets investors citing a significant Chinese slowdown as the biggest risk to the markets.
Even here, investors are not evincing strong opinions about the future. Optimists just outweighed the pessimists among emerging market investors, who have had a rough ride so far this year. Two-fifths of them anticipated taking more risk on board from here on, while 35 per cent envisaged cutting back on risk.
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