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Asian hedge funds shine in stellar month for industry

Robert Churchill | Vetta | Getty Images

In a stellar month for the hedge fund industry, Asian hedge funds outperformed, a report from alternative fund data provider Eurekahedge has showed.

Asia ex-Japan hedge fund managers gained 2.81 percent in September and have outperformed the underlying markets for much of the past year by roughly 8 percent. The Eurekahedge Asia ex-Japan Hedge Fund Index was up 5.87 percent year-to-date in September, in contrast to the MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index, which fell 1.14 percent.

(Read more: Funds' shift away from US isn't just about the debt ceiling)

By contrast, European Commodity Trading Advisors (CTA) or managed futures hedge funds witnessed their eighth consecutive month of negative returns, and were down 4.57 percent September year to date.

Appetite for hedge funds thrived globally in September, the report found. Total assets in the hedge fund industry increased $4.2 billion in September to $1.91 trillion, just 2 percent shy of their historical peak. Assets in long/short equity hedge funds crossed the $600 billion mark for the first time since 2008.

Within Asia, India-focused funds were star performers, posting near 7 percent gains last month. Meanwhile, Japanese hedge funds saw a strong turnaround in September, posting 2.6 percent gains following four months of negative returns. The report attributed the turnaround to a strong Nikkei 225 rally and positive sentiment from Tokyo's winning bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Year-to-date returns (until the end of September) for Japanese long/short equity hedge funds totaled over 20 percent.

(Read more: Ultra-rich hedge funders to poor: We feel your pain)

Greater China hedge funds also continued to make steady returns, the report found, clocking up 2.14 percent of gains last month, their third consecutive month of gains, and an 11.24 percent gain year to date.

The asset-weighted Mizuho-Eurekahedge Index, launched in 2011, was up 2.16 percent in September as the largest constituents of the index posted strong returns during the month.

Funds focused on emerging markets delivered the largest returns of 5.44 percent helped by the strong performance of underlying local currencies versus the U.S. dollar. Emerging market funds were also boosted by increased risk appetite in global markets, the report said.

— CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie

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