Hedge funds posted gains for the third month of the year as the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index rose 0.83 percent in March, outperforming equities such as the MSCI World Index, which declined 0.39 percent.
It was the fifth consecutive month of positive returns for hedge funds. In the first quarter of 2015, the industry returned 3.11 percent, significantly more than the 1.07 percent increase during the same period last year.
Net asset inflows were marginally higher in March, following a surge of US$16.3 billion in new capital allocations by investors in February, data provider Eurekahedge reported in a flash update of its indices.
Regionally, managers focused on Asia, excluding Japan, delivered the strongest performance with gains of 2.1 percent. China mandated funds were up 5.17 percent buoyed by strong equity markets with the CSI 300 rising 13.74 percent in March. In particular, property shares rallied sharply as new government policies, designed to restrict land supply by local authorities, were enacted.
India-focused managers returned 3.21 percent in their 14th consecutive month of positive returns.
European managers gained 1.02 percent in March and 4.22 percent for the year, more than in the entire year 2013.
Funds focused on Latin America also outperformed regional equity indices, gaining 0.7 percent despite a 1.42 percent drop of the MSCI Latin America Index.
North American funds were up 0.53 percent, and Japan mandated funds gained 0.27 percent during the month. In turn, the Eastern Europe & Russia Hedge Fund Index dropped 0.81 percent but still outperformed Russian equities, such as the RTS index, which remained under pressure from a weak ruble, depressed oil prices and a general economic slowdown.
CTA/managed futures strategies led the month with returns of 1.28 percent in March and 4.69 percent for the year to date.
Macro and long/short equity funds were also successful, growing by 0.98 percent and 0.96 percent, respectively, as average fund performance across the globe stayed largely positive despite strong headwinds from underperforming markets in regions such as North America and Latin America, Eurekahedge said.