Monday, 4 January 2016

After tumultuous 2015, will 2016 be year of sovereign defaults?

The Wall Street Journal noted that 2015 was a tumultuous year for markets.

"Two major stock indexes posted their first annual decline since the financial crisis, while energy prices fell even further," it wrote. "Emerging markets and junk bonds also struggled."

And towards the end of the year, "a fierce selloff hit junk bonds".

The Wall Street Journal noted that equity strategists still expect US stocks to gain in 2016. However, they also expect higher levels of volatility.

The Wall Street Journal said that a slowdown in economic growth around the world remains a major hurdle for global markets, with emerging economies looking particularly shaky with commodity prices plunging.

Indeed, Carmen Reinhart wrote last week that 2016 could be a year of sovereign defaults.

"As 2016 begins, there are clear signs of serious debt/default squalls on the horizon," she wrote. "We can already see the first white-capped waves."

Ukraine, Greece and Puerto Rico were among those mentioned as at risk, with the biggest risks in the emerging economies after the Federal Reserve’s move to increase interest rates amid slowing growth in China and collapsing oil and commodity prices.

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