Author : Laura Hochstetler
Date : December 30, 2017
World stocks, as measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index, have risen every month this year – the first time in its history that a calendar year has passed without a monthly decline. (In fact, the index hasn’t had a down month since October 2016.) It ended up 0.5% in December and rose 21.8% over the course of the year.
In the U.S., the S&P 500 has risen for an unprecedented 14 straight months on a total-return basis. On a purely price basis, the S&P 500 has risen for nine straight months, its longest such streak since 1983. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose for nine straight months through December, its longest streak since 1959.
U.S. oil prices closed above $60 a barrel on the final trading day of the year, the first time since mid-2015. Since the start of the year, WTI has climbed around 12%, and the price rise from mid-2017 is much stronger, at nearly 50%. Saudi Arabia’s plan to erase its budget deficit by 2023 relies on a scenario that would see oil revenue surge by about 80%, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The six-year fiscal program also assumes the price of oil will reach $75 a barrel.
The U.S. dollar dropped more than 9% this year as measured against its major peers, putting it on track for its biggest annual loss since 2003. The euro has topped the G10 currency gains, having gained 14% against the dollar over the course of 2017.
According to a private survey by China Beige Book International, which collects anecdotal accounts similar to those in the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, economic data from China for the last quarter of 2017 show slowing growth and offer a “warning for 2018” now that Chinese leaders are less motivated to prop up growth in the wake of their Congress in October.
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