Fortress Joins Many Other Hedge Funds Shorting The Yen

Fortress Joins Many Other Hedge Funds Shorting The Yen

Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG)’s Macro fund is the latest hedge fund to bet big on the weakness of Japanese yen. Though the Japanese currency has already been sliding since mid-November, Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) sees further slide in the yen as newly appointed Bank of Japan governor gears up for aggressive monetary easing. In fact, yen is the worst performing currency among the 10-developed country currencies monitored by Bloomberg.

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Fortress Macro fund, which has $3.5 billion of asset under management, is known for betting big during global economic shifts. The fund returned about 18 percent in 2012 riding on bold bets when many popular hedge funds struggled to make money.

There are already many hedge funds that made money by betting against the yen. Jeffrey Gundlach of Doubleline Capital has already taken a short position in the yen. He said the quantitative easing in Japan will debase yen, creating huge opportunities for investors. And the country must take aggressive monetary measures to beat deflation and kickstart its shrinking economy. Appointment of pro-easing Haruhiko Kuroda as the new governor of Bank of Japan has fueled expectations that further monetary easing is on the cards. Another hedge fund in the game is Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates LP.

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Michael Novogratz and Adam Levinson, managers of the Fortress Macro fund, told investors that they expect a further expansion in the pace and size of Japanese government bond purchases. Reuters reviewed the letter sent by the fund managers to investors. Yen has already declined more than 20 percent versus the dollar since mid-November. Short position in the yen has already proved to be the biggest winner for hedge funds since last year.

Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) Macro fund was up 2.1 percent in February and has gained 4.5 percent in the first two months of 2013, according to Reuters. Novogratz and Adam Levinson said in the letter that the new Bank of Japan governor is committed to achieve 2 percent inflation target, which requires more aggressive easing. G7 countries have also “effectively endorsed” the falling yen, saying that Japan is taking aggressive measures to boost its economy, not to devalue its currency.

Fortress Macro fund also posted gains in stock, commodity and interest rate trading last month, but lost some money by betting against the rise of Indian rupee which remains weak against the dollar.

Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) has $53.4 billion of assets under management.

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