Investors expect the world economy to grow for the rest of the year even as they believe that central banks won’t engage in more rounds of quantitative easing, according to a survey of fund managers conducted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The March survey of fund managers found that 23% of investors expect a stronger global economy during the next 12 months, which represents “a large increase from a net 11% in February,” according to the BofA release. And compare that to January, when a majority of respondents in the survey thought the world economy would weaken.
The big focus was on the Eurozone. According to BofA Merrill, in March there was an even split between those expecting a stronger or weaker Eurozone economy.
Meanwhile, 6% of respondents believe corporate profits will improve compared with a month ago when 11% thought that those profits would decline.
As for quantitative easing, nearly half of the panel, or 47%, do not expect any further QE action in the United States. That is up from 36% in February. In addition, 39% predict the European Central Bank will not extend easing, which is up from 23% a month ago.
At the same time, investors predict higher inflation, with 13% expecting it to rise in the coming year. Michael Hartnett, chief Global Equity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a statement: “The prospect of higher inflation reflects a victory of central banks in the war against deflation. Risk appetite is rising with hedge funds more active, but cash is still on the sidelines to put to work.”
The outlook for Europe, in particular, has changed for the better. “We are witnessing a rehabilitation of European growth prospects, boosted by a sharp fall in EU sovereign concerns,” Gary Baker, head of European Equities strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a statement.
The survey found respondents who described EU sovereign debt as their number one “tail risk” have nosedived to 38% this month from 59% in February. Investors within the Eurozone are both more optimistic about growth and less concerned about corporate profits. And 7% of respondents expect corporate earnings in the Eurozone to drop in the next 12 months, down from 39% in February and 84% in December.
Among investors in the United States, 29% of survey respondents expect the U.S. economy to grow stronger this year, up from 15% in February.
Meanwhile, 91% of Japanese fund managers believe Japan’s economy with improve, rising from 47% in January.
However, fund managers are showing concerns about the China. Some 9% believe China’s economy will weaken in the next year. That’s up from 2% one month ago.
When it comes to sectors, the proportion of global asset allocators who underweight banks has fallen 11 percentage points month-on-month to 14%. In Europe, the survey found that the net underweight position in banks has shrunk to 7% from 50% in January.
But, technology leads all sectors globally, rising to 33% from 10% a month ago among Eurozone investors who are overweight technology.
Frances A. McMorris writes for On Wall Street.