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Column Funds Start 2023 Short Dollars, Eye Peak US: MacGyver via Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US dollar and euro banknotes are shown in this illustration taken on July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Rovic/Illustration/File photo/File photo

Written by Jimmy MacGyver

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – Hedge funds are betting in 2023 that U.S. interest rates are close to peaking, that the Federal Reserve will keep them higher for longer, and that the dollar will weaken slightly.

Judging by the economic data, financial market volatility and talk from US policymakers in the first week of the year, this seems like a reasonable macro strategy – and a reasonable consensus – to use.

At least for now.

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CFTC data shows that speculators closed out 2022 with one of the smallest short positions in the three-month SOFR futures rate of the year, a light short dollar position, and large short positions across the US Treasury curve.

A short position is essentially a bet that the price of an asset will go down, and a long position is a bet that it will go up. In bonds and interest rates, implied yields and rates go down when prices go up, and go up when prices go down.

CFTC speculators increased their net short positions in the three-month Guaranteed Overnight Funding Rate (SOFR) futures contract to 175,218 contracts in the week ended Jan. 3, but that’s still one of the smallest net short positions in a turbulent year.

Chart: CFTC 3-Month Position “SOFR” https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xmvjklgxapr/CFTC2.png

Funds’ US interest rate expectations peaked in August and September last year when their net short positions exceeded 1 million contracts.

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A quick reversal since then shows that they are more neutral on the rate and inflation outlook this year and believe that the Fed is nearing the end of the trolling cycle, or that it has cashed in on a very profitable trade. or both.

“The bottom line is that the Fed and the consensus are right to expect a decline in inflation over time to 2023,” estimates Torsten Slok, partner at Apollo Global Management (NYSE:) in New York.

Float bond capitalization?

Hedge funds are on track for their worst returns in 14 years in 2022, but macro strategies have fared much better. The industry data provider HFR macro index is up 8.15% in the first 11 months of the year, and the currency index is up 12.58%.

HFR is expected to release its December and full-year 2022 revenue numbers this week, with industry peer Preqin to follow later in the month.

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The CFTC’s speculators’ slim bet on short-term US interest rates contrasts with the large bets they still hold on two-year and 10-year Treasuries, despite the end of the Fed’s hike cycle and economic slowdown alike.

Chart: CFTC’s US Treasury Futures Locator https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/myvmogmwdvr/CFTC3.jpg

In a 10-year period, the funds finished 2022 with their third largest net short position for the year, at 383,602 contracts. Funds have been short in these futures contracts since October 2021, and the selling bias has strengthened recently — and the pullbacks were soon followed by weeks of larger bearish bets.

Since hitting a 15-year high of 4.30% in October, the 10-year yield has fallen; It closed at 3.57% on Friday. The inversion of the yield curve around that time also deepened, meaning that the 10-year yield fell further to below the two-year mark.

But the funds held their large net short positions. If this is the year to buy bonds because they are cheap — direct and stock-based — money may have to turn around.

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Funds trimmed their net short exposure to two-year Treasury futures contracts in the week ended Jan. 3 — but only slightly — to 521,508 contracts, still one of the largest ever.

Funds have been short two-year futures all year, and any notion of a positioning for the Fed’s pivot vanished in October when they raised their bearish bets to record highs.

Chart: CFTC Dollar Position vs. https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/zjvqjeqgbpx/CFTC1.png

In foreign exchange, funds cut their net short dollar positions by about a third, closing the year with a $6.8 billion bet that the dollar will weaken against its G10 peers.

This is driven by a large EUR long position. Funds betting on the euro rally against the dollar – near the biggest in two years – is worth $17 billion and beats the $4.5 billion and $1.5 billion long dollar bets against the yen and pound sterling respectively.

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(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a Reuters columnist.)

(Writing by Jimmy MacGyver; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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Economic

We need to pay more attention to skewed economic signals

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The writer is chair of Queen’s College, Cambridge and advisor to Allianz and Gramercy

Inflation was the dominant economic and financial issue of 2022 for most countries around the world, especially for advanced economies that have a consequential impact on the global economy and markets.

The effects have been seen in declining living standards, increasing inequality, increasing borrowing costs, stock and bond market losses, and occasional financial mishaps (fortunately small and so far contained).

In this new year, recession, both actual and feared, has joined inflation in the driving seat of the global economy and is likely to replace it. It’s a development that makes the global economy and investment portfolios subject to a wide range of possible outcomes — something that a growing number of bond investors seem to be aware of more than their equity counterparts.

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International Monetary Fund iYou will likely review soon Her economic growth forecasts again, predicting that “a third of the world will be hit by recession this year”. What is particularly notable to me about these worsening global prospects is not only that the world’s three major economic regions – China, the European Union and the United States – are slowing down together, but also that this is happening for different reasons.

In China, a chaotic exit from the wrong Covid-19 policy is undermining demand and causing more supply disruptions. Such headwinds to domestic and global economic well-being will continue as long as China fails to improve the coverage and effectiveness of its vaccination efforts. The strength and sustainability of the subsequent recovery will also require that the country more vigorously renew a growth model that can no longer rely on greater globalization.

The European Union continues to deal with energy supply disruptions as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. Strengthening inventory management and reorientation of energy supplies is well advanced in many countries. However, it is not yet sufficient to lift immediate constraints on growth, let alone resolve long-term structural headwinds.

The United States has the least problematic view. The headwinds to growth are due to the Fed’s struggle to contain inflation after mischaracterizing rate increases as fleeting and then initially being too timid to adjust monetary policy.

The Fed’s shift to an aggressive front-load of interest rate hikes came too late to prevent the spread of inflation in the services sector and wages. As such, inflation is likely to remain stubborn at around 4 percent, be less sensitive to interest rate policies and expose the economy to greater risk for accidents from additional policy errors that undermine growth.

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The uncertainties facing each of these three economic areas suggest that analysts should be more careful in reassuring us that recessionary pressures will be “short and shallow”. They need to be open, if only to avoid repeating the mistake of prematurely dismissing inflation as transient.

This is especially important because these diverse drivers of recessionary risk make financial fragility more threatening and policy shifts more difficult, including potentially Japan. Get out of interest rate control Policy. The range of possible outcomes is extraordinarily large.

On the one hand, a better policy response, including improving the supply response and protecting the most vulnerable populations, can counteract the global economic slowdown and, in the case of the United States, avert a recession.

On the other hand, additional policy errors and market turmoil can lead to self-reinforcing vicious cycles with rising inflation and rising interest rates, weakening credit and compressed earnings, and stressing market performance.

Judging by market prices, more bond investors are better understanding this, including by refusing to follow the Fed’s interest rate guidance this year. Instead of a sustainable path to higher rates for 2023, they believe recessionary pressures will lead to cuts later this year. If true, government bonds would provide the yield and potential for badly missed portfolio risk mitigation in 2022.

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However, parts of the stock market is still weakly bearish pricing. Reconciling these different scenarios is more important than investors. Without better alignment within markets and with policy signals, the positive economic and financial outcomes we all desire will be no less likely. They will also be challenged by the risk of more unpleasant outcomes at a time of less economic and human resilience.

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Economic

Macro hedge funds end 2022 higher, investors say, while many others take big losses By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Svea Herbst Baylis

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some hedge funds betting on macroeconomic trends have boasted of double and even triple-digit gains for 2022, while other high-profile companies that have long been on technology stocks have suffered heavy losses in volatile markets, investors said.

Rokos Capital, run by Chris Rokos and one of a handful of so-called global macro companies, gained 51% last year. Fund investors this week, who asked not to be identified, said Brevan Howard Asset Management, the company where Rokos once worked, posted a gain of 20.14% and Caxton Associates returned 16.73%.

Haider Capital Management’s Haider Jupiter Fund rose 193%, an investor said.

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Data from hedge fund research showed that many macro managers have avoided crumbling stock markets that have been rocked by rapid interest rate increases and geopolitical turmoil, including the war in Ukraine, to rank among the best performers in the hedge fund industry. The company’s macro index rose 14.2% while the general index of hedge funds fell 4.25%, its first loss since 2018.

Equity hedge funds, where the bulk of the industry’s roughly $3.7 trillion in assets are invested, fared worse with a loss of 10.4%, according to HFR data. And while that beat the broader stock market’s loss of 19.4%, some high-profile funds posted even bigger losses.

Tiger Global Management lost 56% while Whale Rock Capital Management ended the year with a 43% loss and Maverick Capital lost 23%. Coatue Management ended 2022 with a loss of 19%.

But not all companies that bet on technology stocks suffered. John Thaler JAT Capital finished the year with a 3.7% gain after fees after a 33% increase in 2021 and a 46% gain in 2020.

Sculptor Capital Management (NYSE::), where founder Dan Och is fighting the company’s current CEO in court over his salary increase, posted a 13% drop.

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David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, which bet that Elon Musk would be forced to buy Twitter, ended the year up 37% while Rick Sandler’s Eminence Capital rose 7%.

A number of so-called multi-manager companies where teams of portfolio managers bet on a variety of sectors also boast positive returns and have been able to deliver on their promise that hedge funds can deliver better returns in distressed markets.

Balyasny’s Atlas Fund (NYSE: Enhanced) gained 9.7%, while Point72 Asset Management gained 10%. Millennium Management gained 12% while Carlson Capital ended the year with a 7% gain.

Representatives for the companies either did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment.

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German automakers point to easing supply chain problems

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Sales at BMW and Mercedes-Benz jumped in the final months of 2022 as the German premium auto brands indicated supply chain problems plaguing the industry were abating.

Automakers around the world have experienced parts shortages since the pandemic, especially semiconductors, leaving many of them with large fleets of incomplete vehicles that can’t be delivered to customers.

BMW and Mercedes each said their full-year vehicle deliveries fell last year by 4.8 percent and 1 percent, respectively, due to Suppliers Bottlenecks as well as lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine.

But supply pressures eased in the last quarter of the year, as BMW recorded a 10.6 percent jump in sales, with 651,798 vehicles delivered, and Mercedes fulfilling 540,800 orders, up 17 percent from the same period in 2022.

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BMW He said the main effects of supply chain bottlenecks and continued lockdowns were felt in the first six months of the year, adding that “sales were steadily picking up in the second half.”

Mercedes boss Ula Kallenius told the Financial Times last week that the list of problems in the auto supply chain was declining, but added that long waits for cars would continue into 2023.

“One chip is enough to be vital [ . . .] Missing, and then you can’t finish the car, even if you have everything else.

Both brands recorded strong sales growth electric car. Mercedes, which last week announced a plan to build 10,000 charging docks, said EV shipments grew 124 percent to 117,800 last year compared with its predecessor.

Similarly, BMW reported strong growth in electric vehicle sales, with deliveries of fully electric vehicles doubling last year to 215,755.

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Analysts at Bank of America said that sales of electric vehicles, including hybrid cars, reached a historic peak last November, with 1.1 million units sold. They attributed this largely to the upcoming phase-out of customer subsidies in Germany.

Participate in Mercedes BMW and BMW prices held steady Tuesday morning as investors priced in an image of an improving showing.

Rolls-Royce, a subsidiary of BMW, announced Monday that sales have hit a 119-year record, driven by strong demand in the United States, its largest market.

The luxury brand has been largely unaffected by the semiconductor pressure, mainly because it makes relatively few compounds and therefore needs fewer chips.

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