Chart of the week: The winning (and losing) asset classes of 2021


Source: Trading View

Where has it made the most sense to park your capital over the past 12 months? Dr. Nisha Long examines areas of strength and surprising sectors that have struggled during 2021.

2021 has been a banner year for bitcoin, with the cryptocurrency adding around $545 billion to its market capitalization. In terms of returns, bitcoin was also the best performing asset of 2021, returning 59.8% in US dollar terms.

Oil is not far behind, as measured by the WTI Oil Index, which returned 56.4% last year. Oil demand has recovered at an accelerated pace since the third quarter of 2021 as pandemic-related restrictions were eased. This was when global oil production was slower than demand, which drove prices up.

Commodities, measured by the S&P GSCI index, also rose by 37.1%. This was again due to supply and demand, as demand exceeded supply and prices rose in areas such as coal, natural gas, coffee and metals, namely the aluminum and platinum, to name a few.

Although positive, US large-cap stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, did not perform as well as they did in 2020 with a return of 26.9% in 2021. The worst performing asset was the silver, which fell 11.7%, with gold also losing 3.6%. %. Emerging market equities were down 5.5%, mainly due to the underperformance of Chinese equities, which make up 34% of the MSCI EM index.


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