A look back at markets in January when the spread of coronavirus saw investors favour 'safe haven' assets like government bonds.
Global equities, as measured by the MSCI World index, declined in January as the spread of coronavirus reduced investors’ appetite for risk. Assets perceived as safe havens, such as government bonds, performed well.
US shares were flat overall. They carried strong momentum into the new year but mounting fears over the spread of the coronavirus erased the early gains. Energy stocks were especially hard-hit.
Coronavirus concerns led to a lower start to the year for Eurozone equities. The weakest sectors included energy, materials and consumer discretionary. Companies with significant exposure to China underperformed.
UK equities fell in January. The end of the month marked the UK’s official departure from the EU and its entry into a transition period. Sterling was volatile, gaining sharply after the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged.
Japanese shares fell as news coverage emphasised the spread of coronavirus. The yen was slightly more volatile against the US dollar than in recent months although the actual yen/dollar rate ended January almost unchanged.
Emerging markets (EM) equities also lost value. Commodity price falls weighed on sentiment towards a number of countries, notably Brazil, Chile, Colombia and South Africa.
Government bond yields fell significantly over the month (meaning prices rose) amid investor caution and central banks reaffirming accommodative stances.
The guidance and/or advice contained within this website are subject to the UK regulatory regime, and are therefore targeted at consumers based in the UK. Aspect8 Ltd is a chartered member of Best Practice IFA Group Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.