Global markets are having a rough 2018. What’s worse, there’s little relief in sight.
From Shanghai to Tokyo, and Frankfurt to Milan, some of the world’s biggest stock indices are in bear markets, having fallen more than 20% from a recent high.
The weak performance across many global markets has been driven by a potent cocktail of risks.
“Almost all markets, both stocks and bonds, have fallen in value this year, under pressure from rising interest rates, political developments such as Brexit, and the trade dispute between the United States and China,” Peter Harrison, the chief executive of asset manager Schroders, wrote in a note to clients.
Signs of weaker global economic growth have added to the worries.
The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast for 2019 by 0.2 percentage points in October. It said trade conflicts would contribute to slower growth in both China and the United States.
“The economic outlook for next year is rather more challenging — and this is likely to have significant implications for financial markets,” said Neil Shearing, chief economist at Capital Economics.
“We expect global equity markets to struggle again next year, with US stocks likely to experience the steepest declines,” he added.
Here’s a look at what’s going on in key global bear markets.
Trade tensions have hit stocks across the globe, but markets in China have suffered the most.
The tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite is the biggest loser among top global markets, having dropped 34% from its January high. The benchmark Shanghai Composite slumped into a bear market in June, and is now down 27%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which is packed with big Chinese companies, followed Shanghai into bear territory in September.
The trade war has weighed on stocks. But China’s economy is also laden down with debt and facing concerns about a real estate bubble and the stability of its currency.
Elsewhere in Asia
Markets in South Korea and Japan have also struggled.
The KOSPI has slumped 21% in Seoul, with Samsung, its largest constituent company, down 24% since the start of the year. Trade tensions and concerns over the country’s economy have weighed on equities.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 has so far avoided entering a bear market, dropping roughly 17.5% from its recent peak. But the country’s TOPIX index has crossed the threshold.
Frankfurt’s DAX has declined over 22% since January. German carmakers have recorded especially deep losses because of fears over the trade war and new stricter emission testing standards.
The main stock market in Milan, Italy has slumped almost 25% from its recent high amid worries over spending plans proposed by the country’s populist government. Spain’s IBEX has dropped over 20%.