2015 was a very gloomy year for commodities markets. The slump in oil prices and iron ore has sent commodity companies share prices down sharply by as much as 46% in the UK for oil and gas companies and 42% for mining. Markets in Latin America, Turkey and emerging markets suffered most.
In the UK, it was a terrible year for retailers who saw their stock prices fall by an average 35% and for mobile telecoms companies which fell by 29%.
The winners in 2015 were Japan, which was the best performing country. Japanese Equity Funds grew by up to 28% for the year. Smaller Companies in the UK and Europe were also excellent performers and funds tracking these smaller companies grew at rates of between 23% and 26%.
What will happen in 2016?
It is unlikely that the Japanese market will grow at a similar rate again and moderate growth is predicted. The expected slowdown in growth worldwide suggests US and UK equities are unlikely to take off this year even though some analysts are predicting returns of between 7% and 10% for US equities. UK equities will largely be affected by the Brexit referendum and a change in fortune for commodity firms, particularly the oil and mining majors.
The Eurostoxx index was up 14% on 30 November and this market appears to be the favourite of analysts for 2016. The European countries tipped to do best are Germany and Italy.