Financial Markets Enjoy Robust First Half

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Bank of Greece sign.

A Greek bank is one of the world’s best performing stocks, bonds are on fire, and oil prices have surged by almost a quarter. Global equities have accumulated to $8 trillion. These have proven that the Greek financial markets have benefited from a robust first half of 2018.

After the dire end to 2018, and what has happened since, not even the most prudent investor would have predicted that everything have added together making the best first half of a year ever.

As the recession war warning signals are booming, the world’s two top economies are competing in a full-blown trade war but still the Greek performance numbers and milestones are astonishing.

Being the best H1 in its near 40-year history, the $8 trillion surge in global stocks resulted in a near 15% leap in MSCI’s world index is challenging the dot.com boom days of 1997.

Since the trade tensions blow up again in early May, Wall Street is up 18%, Europe 13%, and China has jumped 20%, which is a lot of what it lost even factoring in it has given back 5%.

Following its best first quarter since 2009, oil has raced almost 25% higher than before. Russia’s rubble top the currency charts and though industrial metals have decreased sharply in second quarter, even that has helped.

Meanwhile, safe-haven gold is scaling a 6-year high.

A Swiss fund managers Pictet’s chief strategist referring about the rebound from last year’s beating said, “It has been really impressive.”

In addition, he also said, “All sectors, all markets, all asset classes are in positive territory and that is rather unusual.”

Showing serious matter about the monetary and fiscal stimulus for its $14 trillion economy is China. Then, there has been course and the screeching alteration of direction by the Federal Reserve which came suddenly while a financial crisis is being feared.

Gone off like a rocket, a fire under bond markets has lit up.

As their yields have fallen almost 70 basis points this year, U.S. Treasuries, the world’s benchmark government IOUs, have made a whopping 7 percent.

The last quarter of 2018 was followed by a 37-basis point fall, whereas in the five quarters prior to that they had consistently risen.

A Rally in Greece

Greek flag waving on shoreline at sunset.

A few years back, remember all that euro debt crisis and capital controls, with some of the world’s best performing stocks year. It is a statistic likely to make most jaws drop is that Greek banks.

Up at 250% is the country’s biggest lender Piraeus Bank and the smaller Attica Bank is up 343%.

Europe’s best bourse this year has been Athens. Since its May stock market floatation cooked up all trails, the 550% gain came from Beyond Meat.

After its 2018 fall from grace, Bitcoin is up 220% with Crypto assets back in vogue too, in spite of the almost-daily Brexit chaos and the loss of another prime minister. UK Gilts have returned 4.5%.

HSBC Asset Management’s chief global strategist said, “It is very unusual to see this breadth of strength,” he also added, “The question is, has it been too fast and too furious. It’s a very good question.”

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