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How Every Asset Class, Currency, and Sector Performed in 2018

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We’re only a few days into 2019, but it appears markets have picked up exactly where they left off.

There is growing uncertainty and volatility almost everywhere, and individual events are starting to become catalysts for sell-offs or rallies. Whether it’s Apple’s recent profit warning or Fed chair Jerome Powell saying that he is “listening closely” to the markets, investors are taking cues from current events to figure out where the herd is grazing.

It’s hard to say where markets will head in 2019 – but before we get into the nitty-gritty of a new year, it’s worth taking one final look back at 2018 to see how it impacted investors.

How Markets Did in 2018

We’ll start with broad asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and cash:

Asset Classes in 2018
Note: Figures for equity markets are not including dividends

As you can see, it’s mostly a sea of red.

Cash turned out to be best option for the year, and several asset classes were crushed over the course of 2018, including crude oil and nearly all stocks. Despite this, large cap U.S. stocks (S&P 500) had no issues in outperforming equity alternatives, like smallcap stocks, foreign stocks, or emerging markets.

S&P 500 Sectors in 2018

Breaking down the S&P 500 further into its sectors, it’s clear that nearly every industry struggled simultaneously.

Energy (-20.5%) and Materials (-16.4%) sectors were the hardest hit, and even the Technology sector eventually capitulated by the end of the year. Amazingly, Apple was considered a $1 trillion company in August, but today the tech giant’s market capitalization has already dropped down to a measly $700 billion.

The one exception to the general trend in S&P 500 stocks was Healthcare, which posted 4.7% returns over the course of 2018. Companies like Merck, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer all saw their stocks grow by double-digits, and it’s possible the sector could stay strong in 2019 as the world continues to age.

Currencies in 2018

Lastly, here’s how major currency markets fared.

The U.S. dollar was the strongest major currency, and the Japanese yen had an impressive year as well. The Aussie dollar was routed, and now sits at 10-year lows.

Winners and Losers

Lastly, here’s an ad hoc list of some of the biggest winners and losers in 2018 – it includes some of the stocks and assets that saw notable gains or declines over the course of the year:

Winners and Losers in 2018

Interestingly, it was the finer things in life that outperformed most major asset classes. Both fine wine and fine art gained close to 10%, leaving most other indices behind in the dust.

AMD had a roller coaster year, finishing up nearly 80% as the biggest winner on the S&P 500. That said, owners of AMD stock may see things differently: the stock had actually tripled by September, and has fallen precipitously ever since.

Given the above recap, what are you investing in for 2019?

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Chart of the Week

The Economies Adding the Most to Global Growth in 2019

Global economics is effectively a numbers game – here are the countries and regions projected to contribute the most to global growth in 2019.

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The Economies Adding the Most to Global Growth in 2019

Global economics is effectively a numbers game.

As long as the data adds up to economic expansion on a worldwide level, it’s easy to keep the status quo rolling. Companies can shift resources to the growing segments, and investors can put capital where it can go to work.

At the end of the day, growth cures everything – it’s only when it dries up that things get hairy.

Breaking Down Global Growth in 2019

Today’s chart uses data from Standard Chartered and the IMF to break down where economic growth is happening in 2019 using purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Further, it also compares the share of the global GDP pie taken by key countries and regions over time.

Let’s start by looking at where global growth is forecasted to occur in 2019:

Country or RegionShare of Global GDP Growth (PPP) in 2019F
China33%
Other Asia (Excl. China/Japan)29%
United States11%
Middle East & North Africa4%
Euro Area4%
Latin America & Caribbean3%
Other Europe3%
Sub-Saharan Africa2%
Japan1%
United Kingdom1%
Canada1%
Rest of World8%

The data here mimics some of the previous estimates we’ve seen from Standard Chartered, such as this chart which projects the largest economies in 2030.

Asia as a whole will account for 63% of all global GDP growth (PPP) this year, with the lion’s share going to China. Countries like India and Indonesia will contribute to the “Other Asia” share, and Japan will only contribute 1% to the global growth total.

In terms of developed economies, the U.S. will lead the pack (11%) in contributing to global growth. Europe will add 8% between its various sub-regions, and Canada will add 1%.

Share of Global Economy Over Time

Based on the above projections, we were interested in taking a look at how each region or country’s share of global GDP (PPP) has changed over recent decades.

This time, we used IMF projections from its data mapper tool to loosely approximate the regions above, though there are some minor differences in how the data is organized.

Country or RegionShare of GDP (PPP, 1980)Share of GDP (PPP, 2019F)Change
Developing Asia8.9%34.1%+25.2 pp
European Union29.9%16.0%-13.9 pp
United States21.6%15.0%-6.6 pp
Latin America & Caribbean12.2%7.4%-4.8 pp
Middle East & North Africa8.6%6.5%-2.1 pp
Sub-Saharan Africa2.4%3.0%+0.6 pp

In the past 40 years or so, Developing Asia has increased its share of the global economy (in PPP terms) from 8.9% to an estimated 34.1% today. This dominant region includes China, India, and other fast-growing economies.

The European Union and the United States combined for 51.5% of global productivity in 1980, but they now account for 31% of the total economic mix. Similarly, the Latin America and MENA regions are seeing similar decreases in their share of the economic pie.

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Map: Cities With the Most Ultra-Rich Residents

What cities are the world’s ultra-rich flocking to? This map looks at ultra high net worth individual (UHNWI) growth rates in cities around the world.

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Mapped: The Cities With the Most Ultra-Rich Residents

As of 2018, there is a grand total of 198,342 ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) globally with assets over US$30 million, according to the most recent edition of Knight Frank’s Wealth Report.

Although these millionaires and billionaires can be found all over the globe, the reality is that most of the world’s ultra-rich population tends to congregate in world-class cities.

Generally speaking, UHNWIs are looking to live in places that are conducive to safeguarding and growing their wealth, but that also give them access to top-end amenities that allow them to live comfortably and luxuriously.

Top 10 Cities for the Ultra-Rich

To start, we’ll look at a list of global cities, organized by expected number of UHNWIs in 2023:

RankCityUHNWIs (2018)UHNWIs (2023e)Change (%)
#1🇬🇧 London4,9446,01521.7%
#2🇸🇬 Singapore3,5984,39322.1%
#3🇯🇵 Tokyo3,7324,12510.5%
#4🇺🇸 New York City3,3783,89115.2%
#5🇨🇳 Beijing1,6732,24734.3%
#6🇫🇷 Paris1,6672,03121.8%
#7🇰🇷 Seoul1,5942,02026.7%
#8🇹🇼 Taipei1,5191,86422.7%
#9🇨🇭 Zurich1,5071,79619.2%
#10🇨🇳 Shanghai1,2631,69033.8%

London continues to top the list, with a roster of 4,944 ultra-rich residents today and the projected growth over the coming years to eclipse the 6,000 mark by 2023.

Tokyo has the second highest amount of UHNWIs today, but the city is adding them at a slower rate than other rival cities. As a result, Singapore will move into the #2 spot overall by 2023, with an expected total of 4,393 high net worth residents.

Finally, it’s worth noting that only two cities on the top 10 list are expected to see growth above a 30% clip over this five-year period. Shanghai and Beijing could be cities to watch for decades to come, as they add millionaires and billionaires at a faster rate than any of the other heavyweights.

Fastest Growing Cities

Where are the billionaire meccas of the future?

Here are the 10 cities that are expected to add UHNWIs the fastest between 2018-2023:

RankCityUHNWIs (2018)UHNWIs (2023e)Change (%)
#1🇮🇳 Mumbai7971,10138.1%
#2🇮🇳 Delhi21129137.9%
#3🇵🇭 Manila 11515736.5%
#4🇨🇳 Shenzhen52770834.3%
#5🇨🇳 Beijing1,6732,24734.3%
#6🇨🇳 Guangzhou39452934.3%
#7🇨🇳 Shanghai1,2631,69033.8%
#8🇮🇩 Jakarta40152931.9%
#9🇲🇾 Kuala Lumpur37649631.9%
#10🇰🇷 Seoul1,5942,02026.7%

Not surprisingly, all 10 of these cities are located in Asia.

Two Indian cities (Delhi and Mumbai) top the list, and are likely to add nearly 40% to their ultra-rich populations over the next five years. China also has a strong showing here.

Interestingly, just missing the above top 10 were a few non-Asian cities: Auckland (#11), Madrid (#12), Munich (#13), and Nairobi (#14) are all expected to grow their UHNWI populations by roughly 25% by 2023.

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