LONDON: Hedge fund closures surged in the three months to the end of September as money managers reeled from declines in commodity and equity markets, while high-yield credit spreads widened.

The number of funds liquidated climbed to 257, up from 200 in the previous three months, according to a report from Hedge Fund Research Inc. on Friday, and taking total closures in the first nine months to 674, compared with 661 during the same period last year. Cargill Inc’s Black River Asset Management shut four units, while Armajaro Asset Management LLP also closed one of its funds.

Liquidations rose “as investor risk tolerance fell sharply, and energy commodities and equities posted sharp declines, resulting in net capital outflows, wider performance dispersion and meaningful differentiation between hedge funds,” Kenneth Heinz, president of HFR, said in a statement.

The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index declined by more than 4 per cent in the three months through September, its biggest quarterly drop in four years, as money managers were caught out by the devaluation of the Chinese yuan in August, which pummeled markets, and as oil and gold prices slumped.

Hedge-fund assets contracted by $95 billion to $2.87 trillion during the quarter, HFR data showed, the most since the fourth quarter of 2008, when the industry lost $314.4 billion amid the global financial crisis.

The number of new hedge funds rose to 269 during the quarter, compared with 252 in the previous three months, taking the total number of funds started in 2015 to 785, the data showed.