Carlyle’s ESG Nexus Macro Fund Gains 60% Betting Against China

A hedge fund managed by Carlyle Group LP’s Emerging Sovereign Group has gained about 60 percent since the start of July wagering against China.

ESG’s Nexus strategy, which comprises about $200 million, has gained 45 percent this year, according to people with knowledge of the results. The fund is dedicated to a bet that the Chinese economy and its finanical markets will deteriorate, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

The Nexus fund, which manages a small fraction of the firm’s $4.5 billion in assets, profited as China’s central bank devalued the yuan by the most since 1994. The move surprised global investors and fueled concerns that Chinese authorities are struggling to combat an economic slowdown. The yuan has fallen 2.9 percent against the dollar since before the devaluation on Aug. 10.

ESG has grown nearly three-fold since Carlyle acquired a majority-interest in the New York-based firm in 2011. The Nexus fund has made gains at a time when Carlyle’s hedge fund division has been suffering from losses at Claren Road Asset Management and Vermillion Asset Management.

Nexus is one of several small strategies designed to make directional, often volatile investments around macroeconomic events. Another such fund that bet on higher rates in government debt slumped 50 percent last year after rising 33 percent in 2013. That fund is no longer in operation, one of the people said.

Randall Whitestone, a spokesman for Washington-based Carlyle, declined to comment on ESG’s returns.

ESG was founded in 2002 by Kevin Kenny, Mete Tuncel and Jason Kirschner with seed capital from Julian Robertson of Tiger Management. The three formerly worked together at Morgan Stanley, where Kenny was the head of global emerging markets debt trading and syndicate.

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