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Geopolitical issues pose biggest risk to markets: poll

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GLOBAL geopolitical issues form the biggest risk for markets this year, said regional investors polled at Credit Suisse's Asian Investment Conference last month.

Singapore

GLOBAL geopolitical issues form the biggest risk for markets this year, said regional investors polled at Credit Suisse's Asian Investment Conference last month.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of the 1,200 survey participants cited global geopolitical issues as their foremost concern - up from 18 per cent in the 2014 edition of Credit Suisse's Electronic Sentiment Survey.

This was followed closely by the tightening of monetary policy (24 per cent) and China's growth and credit-related risks (18 per cent).

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"China-related risks were the prominent concern by quite a margin in 2014, but seemed to have tapered off somewhat this year," said Credit Suisse in its report. "The risks of deflation (or) disinflation were flagged by 15 per cent of respondents - this was not among the top six choices last year."

Held in Hong Kong in late March, the 18th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference was attended by more than 2,800 people, comprising 300 companies from 15 countries in the region, in addition to various policy makers and political leaders.

For the Credit Suisse Electronic Sentiment Survey 2015, 1,200 institutional investors, hedge funds, and high net worth individuals were polled - collectively representing more than US$18 trillion in assets under management.

According to this year's survey findings, just over half of those polled expect oil to trade between US$50 and US$80 by year-end, while 45 per cent expect it to be between US$25 and US$50.

Said Credit Suisse: "Continued supply growth in the US and instability in the Middle East inevitably render the oil price a difficult and volatile one to forecast."

Risks aside, 45 per cent of participants believe Europe is likely to provide the greatest upside for equity investors this year. This is followed by 23 per cent for Asia ex-Japan, 16 per cent for the US, and 12 per cent for Japan.

"Time will tell if they are right, and if this is finally Europe's year to shine - in euro terms, Europe has indeed had a very strong start to this year," said Credit Suisse.

However, in response to the same question last year, the majority of participants had also chosen Europe, but they turned out to be off the mark. The Stoxx 50 - Europe's leading blue-chip index for the eurozone - in fact fell 11 per cent in 2014 (in US dollar terms).

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