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Hedge funds start 2022 on a down note after strong 2021

Friday, February 11, 2022
Opalesque Industry Update - Inflation, market volatility and geopolitical tensions in Europe appear to have taken a toll on the global hedge fund business in January, with aggregate return for the business coming in at -1.89% for the first month of the year, according to the just-released eVestment January 2022 hedge fund performance data. The hedge fund industry ended 2021 at +9.87% and January's return is the lowest start to the year since 2016, according to eVestment Global Head of Research Peter Laurelli.

"Of course, how the year starts has historically not been reflective of its ultimate outcome," Laurelli notes. "Despite its rocky start of -2.63% in 2016, the industry ended the year with an aggregate return of +5.74%. And in 2018 the industry produced an average loss of -4.94%, though January 2018's average return was a solid +2.29%. It's definitely too early to make any predictions as to how 2022 will shape up for the business."

Commodity strategies produced the best results in January among all hedge fund types eVestment tracks, with these funds producing average gains of +3.21%. January's strong returns from Commodity funds comes on the heels of the segment's robust +20.90% return for full year 2021 and average returns of +5% or more for 2020 and 2019.

· Macro hedge funds were strong performers in January, with returns coming in at +1.47% to start the year. This is a strong turnaround for the year for these funds, which returned an average of just +2.45% for all of 2021. The 10 largest Macro funds also performed well in January, with average returns of +1.00%.

· Managed Futures funds also appeared to navigate January well, with an average return of +0.74%, following full year average returns of +6.95% in 2021.

· Brazil-focused funds started the year on a high note after several years of dismal performance. These funds had average returns of +4.42% in January, following average returns of -18.77% in 2021 and -9.50% in 2020.

· Event Driven - Activist funds saw the biggest reversals of fortune in January, with average returns of -7.71%, which is a sharp turnaround from the +26.58% average return for the segment in 2021.

· Long/Short Equity funds also fared poorly out of the gate in 2022, with the overall segment seeing returns of -4.07% and the 10 largest Long/Short Equity funds faring worse with average returns of -4.62%.

· The largest hedge funds started the year on a sour note, with the 10 largest hedge funds reporting to eVestment seeing January returns of -3.58%. The 10 largest hedge funds finished 2021 with average returns of +6.36%.

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