Metal hedge fund investment reaches high

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2017/9/19 17:13:40

Investors may be hoping to profit from rise in prices as appetite revives

Hedge fund investment in the metals industry is at its highest since 2011, according to investment data, a sign that investors are hoping to profit from a rise in prices that have spent years in the doldrums.

The investment by hedge funds follows a broader inflow of money into industrial metals, where prices are rising after production cutbacks helped to reduce a supply glut.

That oversupply crisis led to the closure of some specialist metals hedge funds, including those run by Apollo Global Management and Hall Commodities.

The metals industry's fortunes are turning, as an environmental crackdown in China - the world's second-largest economy and biggest consumer and producer of industrial metals - in polluting industries cuts supplies.

The upturn creates opportunities for speculative investors, betting that the strong run continues, or positioning themselves for a tumble in prices.

Data from S&P Intelligence showed hedge fund investments in metals and mining stocks reached $18.52 billion on September 5. This compares with a peak of $28.98 billion in 2010 and a low of $10.16 billion in 2015.

New preliminary data from industry tracker Blue Lion Research also showed that hedge funds' appetite for investing in metals was at its highest since October 2014.

Rock bottom interest rates, which depress profits from mainstream investments, and fears that stock markets, which are at record highs, could stumble have also helped to revive interest in the metals sector.

"We're seeing renewed interest in metals for a number of reasons... including portfolio diversification and six years of a bear market," said Gerardo Tarricone, founder of Arion Investment Management.

For speculative investors, metals are seen as increasingly attractive.

Copper has enjoyed stronger-than-expected Chinese demand this year, which combined with a weaker US dollar has propelled prices to three-year highs near $7,000 per ton.  

Data from Barclays shows investment in industrial metals totaled $27 billion in July, up from $23 billion a year ago and $14 billion in 2015.

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