Animated Maps: Fewer Americans Participating in Surging U.S. Markets
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Animated Maps: Fewer Americans Participating in Surging U.S. Markets

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The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Over the course of the year, U.S. markets have hit new all-time highs on multiple occasions. The most recent iteration of this trend is the “Trump Rally”, which has the S&P 500 up 2.8% since Election Day.

Trump Rally in S&P 500

Fueled by expansionary monetary policy and the lowest interest rates in history, the bull market in U.S. equities is now the second-longest of all time. It’s hard to believe that almost eight years ago, the S&P 500 sat at a measly low of just 676.53 on March 9, 2009.

Rising Portfolios, Declining Participation

The stock market is proven to be the best way for investors to make returns over the long run, even through recessions and other catastrophic events.

This can be seen on the below map, showing portfolio value on a regional basis from 1989-2013:

Mean value of stocks held by families

This data, which comes from the Fed every three years, shows the mean value of stocks for families that have holdings in the market. The most recent national number is $294,300 for 2013, and we can safely assume that mean portfolio values are even higher today given the continuation of the bull market.

But does this mean that everyone has benefited from rising stock prices?

While the average value of stocks held by families has soared, there is an alarming countertrend: the percentage of families that actually own stocks has been shrinking since 2001:

Mean value of stocks held by families

One particularly interesting regional case is that of the Midwest. In the span of nine years (from 2004-2013) the percentage of families with stock ownership halved from 23.4% to 12.3%.

But this has also happened on a broader level.

The percentage of families nationwide with directly-owned stocks peaked at 21.3% in 2001 – and since then, the number has consistently declined all the way until 2013, when only 13.8% of families owned stocks.

What Does It Mean?

Despite steady market gains since 2009, fewer families are participating in the markets.

Is it that people don’t have enough disposable income anymore to invest? Or is this because families are still skeptical of the economy and market even years after the 2008 crisis?

Regardless of the reasons, stock market gains have gone predominantly to one group of people:

Mean value of stocks held by families

The 90-100% percentile income bracket – in other words, the people who make the most money – have had the value of their stocks triple in value since 1989.

A Slight Trend Reversal?

Though Fed numbers for this year won’t come out until late 2017, there is some evidence that stock ownership has started to increase again, even if it is just a tiny improvement. This recent Gallup poll shows 2014 and 2015 to have slightly higher numbers of people involved in the market, though it uses a different definition than the Federal Reserve for its figures.

So as the “Trump Rally” comes to a close, the question remains. Did enough Americans benefit from the most recent rise in stock prices, or did those returns go only to one group?

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Mapped: 2023 Inflation Forecasts by Country

Inflation surged on a global scale in 2022, hitting record-level highs in many countries. Could it finally subside in 2023?

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2023 Inflation

Mapped: 2023 Inflation Forecasts by Country

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Inflation surged on a global scale in 2022, hitting record-level highs in many countries. Could it finally subside in 2023?

In the above infographic, we look to answer that question using the World Economic Outlook report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Not Yet Out of the Woods

While the IMF predicts that global inflation peaked in late 2022, rates in 2023 are expected to remain higher than usual in many parts of the world. Following the 8.8% global inflation rate in 2022, the IMF forecasts a 6.6% rate for 2023 and 4.3% rate for 2024 based on their most recent January 2023 update.

For the optimists, the good news is that the double-digit inflation that characterized nearly half the world in 2022 is expected to be less prevalent this year. For the pessimists, on the other hand, looking at countries like Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Turkey, and Poland may suggest that we are far from out of the woods on a global scale.

Here are the countries with the highest forecasted inflation rates in 2023.

Country / RegionProjected Annual Inflation % Change 2023
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe204.6%
🇻🇪 Venezuela195.0%
🇸🇩 Sudan76.9%
🇦🇷 Argentina76.1%
🇹🇷 Turkiye51.2%
🇮🇷 Islamic Republic of Iran40.0%
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka29.5%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia28.6%
🇸🇷 Suriname27.2%
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone26.8%
🇸🇸 South Sudan21.7%
🇭🇹 Haiti21.2%
🇬🇭 Ghana20.9%
🇵🇰 Pakistan19.9%
🇳🇬 Nigeria17.3%
🇾🇪 Yemen17.1%
🇲🇼 Malawi16.5%
🇵🇱 Poland14.3%
🇲🇩 Moldova13.8%
🇲🇲 Myanmar13.3%
🇭🇺 Hungary13.3%
🇧🇾 Belarus13.1%
🇰🇬 Kyrgyz Republic12.4%
🇬🇳 Guinea12.2%
🇲🇳 Mongolia12.2%
🇪🇬 Egypt12.0%
🇦🇴 Angola11.8%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan11.3%
🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe11.2%
🇷🇴 Romania11.0%
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan10.8%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan10.8%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan10.5%
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic10.1%
🇨🇬 Democratic Republic of the Congo9.8%
🇿🇲 Zambia9.6%
🇪🇪 Estonia9.5%
🇲🇪 Montenegro9.2%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh9.1%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom9.0%

While the above countries fight to sustain their purchasing power, some parts of the world are expected to continue faring exceptionally well against the backdrop of a widespread cost-of-living crisis. Many Asian countries, notably Japan, Taiwan, and China, are all predicted to see inflation lower than 3% in the upcoming year.

When it comes to low inflation, Japan in particular stands out. With strict price controls, negative interest rates, and an aging population, the country is expected to see an inflation rate of just 1.4% in 2023.

Inflation Drivers

While rising food and energy prices accounted for much of the inflation we saw in 2022, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook highlights that core inflation, which excludes food, energy, transport and housing prices, is now also a major driving factor in high inflation rates around the world.

Drivers of Inflation
What makes up core inflation exactly? In this case, it would include things like supply chain cost pressures and the effects of high energy prices slowly trickling down into numerous industries and trends in the labor market, such as the availability of jobs and rising wages. As these macroeconomic factors play out throughout 2023, each can have an effect on inflation.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are also still at play in this year’s inflation forecasts. While the latter mainly played out in China in 2022, the possible resurgence of new variants continues to threaten economic recovery worldwide, and the war persists in leaving a mark internationally.

The confluence of macroeconomic factors currently at play is unlike what we’ve seen in a long time. Though the expertise of forecasters can give us a general understanding, how they will actually play out is for us to wait and see.

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