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Aussie or Canadian dollars a better bet than the greenback, says CAIA survey

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Australian or Canadian dollars will have a higher return this year than the US dollar when compared to the euro, yen, or sterling, according to a new prediction survey of leading alternative investment professionals.

The 2011 prediction survey was conducted by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, the sponsoring body of the only globally recognissed designation for alternative investment expertise. Professionals with the CAIA designation were surveyed to determine consensus predictions for the 2011 outlook for returns on a variety of traditional and alternative investment products. More than 500 CAIA members responded, with half of the responses coming from North America, 27% from Europe, and 22% from Asia and the rest of the world.

Members were asked: "Which of the following events will occur in 2011?" The view, at least from some members, is that markets will remain volatile and the US dollar will not be highly sought after. The greatest consensus came in three areas: 22.6% of CAIA members think that the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) will trade above 50 during 2011; 22.4% predicted that gold prices will exceed $2,000 per ounce; while 25.8% believe that US Treasury yields will hit 5%. Members judged some scenarios as less likely, including the 4.5% who believe that crude oil prices will hit $200, the 11% that predict that emerging market equities will decline 30% or the 14.8% who believe that copper prices could surpass $7.50 per pound. Surprisingly, 69.1% of members believe that at least one of these events will take place this year.

When asked to choose the alternative investment indices most likely to outperform competing styles, 45.8% expect macro funds to offer superior returns when compared to distressed, emerging markets or convertible arbitrage hedge funds. Over 85% predict that global private equity deal volume will be between $80 billion and $250 billion, while 71% believe that global high yield bonds will have a default rate below 5% in 2011. Commodity currencies may remain strong this year, as 66% of CAIA members believe that the Australian or Canadian dollars will have a higher return vs. the US dollar when compared to the Euro, Yen or Pound Sterling. The majority of European CAIA members predicted that these commodity currencies will outperform the euro in the coming year. Only 16.5% of respondents believe that the US dollar index will outperform real estate, gold or emerging market sovereign bonds.

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