Spooked global funds drive up cash and bond holdings

LONDON (Reuters) – Spooked by another worldwide stocks selloff, global investors have piled up cash to a more than two-year high this month, hoovered up bonds and cut back property holdings.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Brexit worries have also made the UK stocks more unpopular than a long-running Reuters poll has ever seen, though there has been a tentative move back into U.S. and Asian equities despite the two region’s rumbling trade tensions.

The moves show how much confidence in the world economy has soured since the start of the year.

The combination of the U.S.-China trade tensions, central banks turning off the money taps and cooling growth will see world stocks .MIWD00000PUS suffer their first double-digit loss in any year since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Fund managers around the globe reduced their exposure to equities to 47.2 percent from 47.7 percent in November and 50.1 in January, which makes its the biggest shift out of stocks in a calendar year since Reuters started its survey in 2013.

“Investors are doubting global growth and fearing a recession with uncertainty over the direction of trade wars at a time when most global central banks have entered or (are) about to enter the tightening cycle,” head of multi asset at Liontrust Asset Management John Husselbee said.

A total of 45 funds took part in the poll conducted from Dec. 7 to Dec. 19. Fixed income holdings rose to 39.3 percent, a touch higher than

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