Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
It’s the final day of the trading year, and what a year it’s been for investors.
Stocks have surged world wide over the last 12 months – thanks to renewed confidence in the global economy and a steady drip-drip-drip of monetary stimulus from central bankers.
Over in Asia, the markets have enjoyed their best year since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which tracks stocks across the region, has surged by almost 29% this year.
Hong Kong has enjoyed a particularly exuberant year – jumping by an sparkling 36%, while South Korea posted a 22% gain and India jumped by 27%.
Ceremonies have already been taking place at stock markets across Asia, including in Tokyo and Manila.
Many commodities have strengthened this year too, at the expense of the weaker US dollar. Donald Trump’s push for tax cuts has not made the greenback great again.
In Europe, many stock markets are already sitting on double-digit gains – Germany’s DAX, for example, is up 13%.
Britain’s FTSE 100 hit fresh record highs this week, but has actually only gained around 6.7% during the year. Today’s trading session will end at 12.30pm.
So, a solid year for shares. But could the markets be peaking? Some investors worry that the good times could end soon.
For example, an index from State Street that tracks investor risk appetite suffered its six straight monthly fall in December.
As Michael Metcalfe, State Street’s head of global macro strategy, put it:
There’s not much in the agenda (understandably), apart from new inflation figures from Germany.