Bitcoin’s massive rise year-to-date has resulted in the cryptocurrency unseating technology as the most crowded trade in today’s markets, according to the latest global fund manager survey.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s sentiment test, which covers 181 recipients overseeing $549 billion in assets, asked investors where they were facing potential headwinds.
The most popular choice, with 26% of responses, was a long bet on Bitcoin. The other prominent pick over 2017 so far has been long exposure to the US dollar.
A new name was also chosen as the biggest tail risk facing investors, with 35% saying North Korea was now posing huge problems. This replaced Fed and ECB policy timetables, which was raised as the biggest fear in the August reading and remained the biggest worry for 21% of those polled.
Since the start of the year, concerns over the European Union disintegrating had been prominent, as had Chinese credit tightening and also summer worries about a bond market meltdown, which has fallen from 20% to around 10% of fund managers’ greatest concerns.
When asked what would be the most surprising event to contend with over the next six months, 54% said a recession, while 30% said the least surprising event would be an equity bubble.
In terms of direct positioning, cash levels remain high at around 4.5%, but not at previous highs. This is while the underweight to US equities is at a 10-year high, with a net 28% underweight.
The overweight to emerging markets is at a seven-year peak, which rose from 39% in August to 47% of managers overweight in September.