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Managed Futures Mostly Gain in April, Though FX- and Digital Asset-Traders Take a Pause

Despite April Stumble, Currency and Crypto Funds on Trend for a Strong 2023

FAIRFIELD, IOWA May 16, 2023

The managed futures industry had a winning month in April returning 0.87%, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions.

April’s gains trimmed CTAs’ year-to-date losses to -1.02% as April ended.

Most CTA subsectors tracked were in positive territory for the month. The MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index had the strongest result returning 1.74% in April. The Systematic Traders Index and the Diversified Traders Index were next up in the order, return 1.04% and 1.01%, respectively. Beyond them, the Fin./Met. Traders Index picked up 0.53%; the Agricultural Traders Index gained 0.29%; and the Discretionary Traders Index edged up by 6 basis points.

Subsectors reporting losses in April were limited to the Currency Traders Index, down -0.23%, and the Cryptocurrency Traders Index, off -0.25%.

Despite a positive April for the year-to-date interval, a slight majority of CTA subsectors remained in the red. The funds in the black were led by the Currency Traders Index which is up a compounded +3.03% through April. The Discretionary Traders Index remains above water by +0.97%. In spite of a small stumble in April, the Cryptocurrency Traders Index continues to have a strong 2023 with an aggregate return of +30.36%.

Subsectors posting year-to-date losses through April included the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index, down -2.50%, the Diversified Traders Index, off -2.15%, the Systematic Traders Index, losing -1.49%, the Agricultural Traders Index, retreating -0.96%, and the Financial & Metal Traders Index, down -0.36%.

“Both the BTOP50 and the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index bounced back from painful falls in March to book solid gains in April, indicating that the largest CTAs and systematic traders (by AUM) recovered their footing,” reflected Ben Crawford, Head of Research at BarclayHedge. “Nevertheless, forward motion in April wasn’t sufficient to overcome what has ultimately been a relatively intransigent start to the year for many Managed Futures shops. Elsewhere, currency (FX) traders and digital asset funds, which had been on a tear through the first quarter of 2023, suffered minor hiccups in April.”

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which tracks the performance of the largest CTAs open for new investment, gained +1.43% in April. For the year to date the BTOP50 was down -2.18%.

For a complete table of Barclay CTA Index results as well as historical data, click here.

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Malea Lydon

BackBay Communications