Hedge fund deleveraging 'could spread to Asia'

1 December 2008

The "massive" deleveraging currently affecting many hedge funds in the West could be about to spread to Asia and "overwhelm" central banks' efforts to stabilise the markets and counteract the financial crisis, experts have claimed.

According to the Standard, deleveraging in the West - where hedge funds are forced to dump their assets in order to boost their cash reserves - could eventually top $12 trillion.

It added that while these fire sales have so far been confined to funds based in the United States, the UK and Europe, the performance of many Asian hedge funds' investments has been far worse - meaning a wave of client redemptions could be heading east.

Nomura analyst Paul Schulte warned that this could cause further damage to the already turbulent markets and unravel international efforts to contain the crisis.

Huw van Steenis of Morgan Stanley forecast that overall, the hedge fund industry could shrink by 45 per cent in coming months, losing around $800 billion of its total value.

Last week, Money Morning cited statistics from Hedge Fund Research that show the hedge fund industry lost around $40 billion during October.

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