World Economy in best shape since 2011, says investors
The world economy is in its best shape in 18 months as China's prospects improve and the US looks likely to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to the latest Global Poll of investors.
Two-thirds of the 862 surveyed described the global economy as either stable or improving. That's up from just over half who said that in September and is the most since May 2011.
The US came out on top for the eighth straight quarter when investors were asked which markets will offer the best opportunities over the next year. China ranked second, reversing a decline to fourth in the September poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers. The European Union, beset by a debt crisis, was seen offering the worst returns.
"The global economy is improving, recovering and healing, thanks to the U.S. and the emerging markets," said Andrea Guzzi, a poll respondent and vice president of IST Investmentstiftung fuer Personalvorsorge, which manages money for Swiss pension funds. "More people are becoming wealthy, less and less are poor."
Stocks were seen as the asset of choice, with more than one in three of those surveyed on Nov. 27 forecasting equities would have the best returns in the coming year. Real estate came in second: Just less than one in five investors singled it out favorably, the best showing since the quarterly poll began in July 2009. Bonds were seen as offering the worst returns.
The Federal Reserve is expected to provide continued support to the bond market after its Operation Twist program ends next month, according to the poll. About three in four said the U.S. central bank will begin outright purchases of Treasury securities after its plan for swapping short-dated securities for longer-dated ones expires.
A plurality -- two in five - - said the Fed also will continue buying mortgage-backed securities into 2014, a strategy dubbed QE3 by investors, shorthand for the third round of quantitative easing by the central bank.
"The Fed is being very clear about monetary policy," Gala Prada, a poll respondent and portfolio and asset manager for Fiatc Mutua de Seguros y Reaseguros, a Barcelonabased insurance company, said in an e-mail. "If the economy doesn't improve, there will be a QE4 or more asset purchases."
The growing optimism among investors about the world economy was not reflected in their views of the prospects for the financial services industry. About seven in ten said they expect large banks to reduce payrolls further in the next year after cutting at least 188,000 jobs over the last two years.