Brevan Howard tells clients: we have not sold eurozone stragglers short

HEDGE fund juggernaut Brevan Howard Asset Management has written to investors confirming it has no short positions in troubled eurozone countries Greece, Italy or Portugal.

Attention turned to speculators earlier this month after spreads on credit default swaps (CDS), which insure against the risk of non-payment by a company or nation, shot up on Greek and Spanish gilts.

Brevan Howard told investors in its £14m Master fund: “We have had no short exposure to Greece since mid-December 2009. There have been no meaningful positions through bonds or CDS since the end of December in Spain, Portugal or Italy.”

Brevan Howard said the overall effect of all the positions was a small net long. Its approach contrasts with other prominent hedge funds such as Paulson & Co and Moore Capital, which have declined to comment on their positions.

On Friday, Greek media reports suggested Athens’ EYP intelligence service was investigating speculative attacks on the country’s sovereign debt. The Greek finance ministry denied the news.

A government spokesperson said: “There is no such action, no such decision. Beyond that, of course we are doing our analysis, trying to determine where these speculative games originate.”

Spanish ministers have also blamed hedge funds for their woes.