Grexit impact on markets limited: Barclays survey

LONDON - While European leaders and Greek politicians struggle to reach an agreement and stave off default by Greece, a new Barclays survey shows that investors are remarkably complacent when it comes to the potential impact of a "Grexit".

The June 10-17 poll of nearly 900 investors shows fewer than 20 per cent of respondents thought a departure by Greece from the euro zone would be bad  for wider markets.

So, if not Greece, what do these investors actually think is the biggest risk to global markets?

It turns out many are worried about China and emerging markets as their growth is slowing and stocks are pulling back. The Shanghai Composite Index fell roughly 13 per cent last  week in its biggest weekly drop in more than three years.

About 16 per cent of poll respondents also cited persistent worries over worsening market liquidity, while 13 per cent viewed policy withdrawal by the  US Federal Reserve as  the main risk.

Elsewhere in the survey, investors seem bullish about stocks and bearish on bonds. A large majority called for equities to perform best over the next three months, with fixed-income  seeing the least amount of bulls.

There were a number of other interesting findings in the 28-page note. For instance, rather than the disinflation worries that have kept the Fed at bay when making monetary policy decisions, investors are now more worried about inflation over the next one to two years.

Mr Guillermo Felices and his Barclays team point out that, "for the first time in three quarters, the majority of participants see inflation as a bigger risk than deflation over the next 12-24 months".

Barclays also asked participants where they thought gold and oil would be at the end of the third quarter.

With gold trading around US$1,180 an ounce, it does not look like the respondents expect much movement. The vast majority saw the precious metal staying in the range of US$1,150 and US$1,250. 

And with Brent crude trading at US$63 a barrel, it does not look like they expect a major rally either. The survey showed that participants saw oil ending the third quarter at between US$50 and US$70.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Grexit impact on markets limited: Barclays survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe