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Monthly Market Wrap

Monthly Market Wrap: April 2024

Global markets rattled – ‘higher-for-longer’ interest rates
3 min read

Key Points

  • United States: Big tech in a
    class of its own.
  • UK/Europe: UK falls into recession
  • Asia: Japan’s Nikkei reaches new highs.
  • South Africa: Budget reveals ongoing.
    fiscal challenges.

United States

  •  US economic growth slid to an almost two-year low, while a measure of underlying inflation advanced
    more than forecast, damping hopes of a soft landing.
  • The US Fed kept the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged.
  • The S&P 500 Index declined 4.1% for the month. The market has become more concerned about an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East as well as the possibility of US interest rates remaining ‘higher-for-longer’.
  • The yield on the US 10-year government bond weakened to 4.69%, with the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index down another 2.5% for April.

UK/Europe

  • The ECB held interest rates steady for a fifth consecutive meeting, while sending its clearest signal yet that
    cooling inflation will soon allow it to commence cuts.
  • Consumer prices in the UK rose by an annual 3.2% in March 2024, the lowest level since September 2021.

Asia

  •  The Bank of Japan held interest rates steady after the yen hit a fresh 34-year low at month end. The currency recovered slightly, after traders cited yen-buying intervention by the authorities.
  • Chinese equities rose after better-than-expected GDP growth numbers. The CSI 300 Index is up over 5% year-to-date

South Africa

  •  CPI slowed for the first time this year, dropping to 5.3% in March.
  • Within commodity markets, copper continued its upwards charge, hitting its highest level since June 2022.
  • BHP made a non-binding conditional all-share offer to take over Anglo American PLC. Anglo American rejected the takeover offer, stating it undervalued the miner and its prospects.
  • The JSE/ All Share Index ended the month up 3.0%, as investors re-entered the market at attractive levels following a recent sell-off. Big index stocks gained ground. Anglos was up 27%, and Naspers gained 8% after Tencent nailed down an earlier-than-anticipated debut of one of the year’s most eagerly awaited mobile games.