World mkts pick up where they left off in Jan; Mar-to-date China down 21.5%, U.S. better than most

Global markets continued their March declines, emulating their devastating January performance and reversing their February rebound. The downturn in commodities, highlighted by sharp drops in both oil (broke under $100, closed at $101) and gold ($945, was over $1,000), 10-year Treasury rates at their lowest level (3.34%, at least since my data series goes back - 1962), a dollar still struggling (Yen under 100 at 99.5, and the Euro at 154), and the potential global impact of a perceived U.S. recession all continue to fuel volatility (especially in the U.S. where it stands at a 70 year high) and uncertainty.

Emerging markets, that have done the best, are giving up some of those profits. Notable were the BRIC countries, with China, which returned 69.8% in 2007, now down by 32.5% YTD for 2008; Brazil -9.8% YTD, 79.6% for 2007; India -32.0%, 80.8%; Russia -14.7%, 23.1%.

The decline in the Developed markets was less server, but still significant (as were their gains in 2007). Notable was the U.S. March-to-date performance which posted a slight decline of 0.69%: World markets for March-to-date are down 6.23%, but World ex/U.S. is down 3.73%, which is a reversal of February’s results.

Daily and historical data (downloadable) on S&P/Citigroup Global Equity Indices is available here

Current and historical S&P The World By Numbers is available here

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