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Monthly Market Wrap

Monthly Market Wrap: January 2024

BIG TECH continues to drive global rally
3 min read

Key Points

  • United States: Fed downplays
    early rate cuts.
  • UK/Europe: BoE keeps lending rate at a
    16-year high of 5.25%.
  • Asia: CSI 300 near 5-year low.
    Nikkei 225 hits 34-year high.
  • South Africa: IMF down-grades
    growth for 2024.

United States

  • The US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, tempering expectations on rate cuts, and cautioned it will not begin lowering interest rates until it sees further progress on inflation returning to its 2% target.
  • The S&P 500 Index gained 2%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1%. Big tech stocks – Microsoft (+7%), Meta (+12%) and Nvidia (+28%) – keep on riding the mania over artificial intelligence.
  • Hotter-than-expected economic data powered the yield on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury note, briefly back above 4% (3.9% at the end of January).

UK/Europe

  • The ECB kept interest rates steady at 4%, and the BoE at 5.25%.
  • Europe narrowly avoided a technical recession in Q4 2023. Europe’s largest economy, Germany, shrank
    0.3% over the course of last year, bogged down by persistent inflation, high energy prices and weak
    foreign demand

Asia

  • China’s GDP rose 5.2% year-on-year in Q4 2023, slightly slower than estimates.
  • Chinese policymakers stepped up their efforts in recent weeks to support the economy and sliding
    markets. The CSI 300 Index lost around 4% in January, trading near its lowest level in five years. The
    gloom over the Chinese economy deepened in January as the liquidation of debt-ridden China
    Evergrande Group intensified concerns about the embattled real estate sector.
  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index gained 8.4% in January, just 7% off its record high in 1989.

South Africa

  • The MPC kept interest rates on hold at 8.25%, having left the benchmark rate unchanged for the past nine months. Headline consumer inflation declined to 5.2% in December.
  • The JSE All Share Index lost 3% for the month, dragged down mainly by resources stocks, which lost 5.8%.
  • Fitch Ratings agency maintained SA’s credit rating at BB- with a stable outlook.
  • The IMF downgraded its economic growth forecasts for SA, warning that logistical challenges are
    constraining activity and acting as a drag on the entire region. The economy will likely grow a meager 1% this year

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