Fears of a recession in Europe were markedly lower among fund managers in September, but more expect a further slowdown in the region, according to a survey by Bank of America.

In the bank's monthly European Fund Manager survey, a net 32% thought the European economy will go into a recession over the next 12 months, down sharply from 61% last month and from a peak of 95% last October. 

However, the proportion of respondents expecting a global recession remained unchanged at a net 14%, following a drop from 77% last November. 

BofA: Global investors turn away from EM equities as China growth optimism slumps

Growth was still a corner for managers, however, particularly in Europe, with 89% of investors predicting a further slowdown in the region in response to monetary tightening, up from 79% last month.

Elsewhere in the survey, 53% of professional investors said they saw an immediate downside for US growth, up from 45% last month.

A further 37% expected US growth to remain resilient in the near term, but ultimately to slow in response to monetary policy, down from 53% in August. 

Almost half (47%) thought Chinese growth will soften further, up from 34% last month, with only 13% expecting a renewed acceleration, down from 24%.

On inflation expectations, a net 69% of fund managers expected core inflation globally to decline over the coming year, though this is down from 81% last month. Two fifths still saw high inflation as the biggest risk for markets. 

A majority of 60% believed the Fed is done hiking interest rates, up from 47% last month, mirroring the markets odds that the rate cycle has come to an end, as it currently ascribes a 55.7% chance that the hiking cycle is done, according to data from CME Group.

UK unemployment rate edges up as wage growth catches up with inflation

While only a net 15% judged global monetary policy to be too tight, a net 69% saw short-term interest rates coming down over the next twelve months, with both figures being their highest since 2008.

Managers were bearish on equities near-term, and constructive medium-term, with 63% of investors expecting a downside for European equities over the coming months in response to monetary tightening. However, this is down from 71% last month, and 61% now forecast upside over the next year, up from only 45% last month. 

Investors were also pessimistic on bonds, with a net 22% expecting 10-year bond yields to fade, a 20-year high.

Some 84% saw a downside for European earnings per share in response to slowing growth and fading inflation, with 37% regarding earnings downgrades as the most likely cause of a market correction, followed by weakening macro data at 29%.

However, a net 32% say they have not taken out any protection against a sharp fall in equities, the highest proportion since November 2021. Not having enough defensive hedges to protect against weakening growth is the key portfolio construction risk for 37% of investors.