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Markets rebound strongly in April

Published May 2020

With many countries gradually easing their lockdown restrictions, we’d like to share this review of recent market movements from the ANZ Chief Investment Office.

Share markets soared in April primarily due to massive global fiscal and monetary responses across the globe. Planning by some countries to reopen economies also helped to lift asset prices.

We also saw market volatility decline over the month from extreme levels. And global shares registered healthy returns.

Australian shares had one of their best months, posting a return of 9.0% as the spread of COVID-19 slowed and lockdown restrictions started easing. The Australian dollar also rallied and registered a gain of over 6% from COVID-19 lows.

However, the commodity markets – oil and gold – had a mixed performance. Oil prices saw sharp falls and remained under pressure while gold, silver and copper prices rose.

A look at the major economies showed that:

  • The US economy contracted at an annualised pace of 4.8% in Q1 2020 and the number of jobless claims has increased by 30 million in the last six weeks
  • The Eurozone’s GDP contracted 3.8% (not annualised) in Q1 2020 as the manufacturing sector was hit due to the lockdown of businesses

We saw the enormous concerted efforts by the US Congress and the US Federal Reserve with the launch of fiscal stimulus and commitment to unlimited government bond purchases. Those measures were aimed at boosting the US economy and providing financial support to those affected by business closures in the US.

Similarly, the European Central Bank (ECB) continued its quantitative easing programme in line with other major economies as world leaders focused their efforts to reopen in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported there were over 3 million confirmed cases at the end of April, and over 217,000 deaths worldwide. Though the rate of new cases has slowed in some countries, there are lingering concerns for a second wave of new infections. And of course, a cure is still to be found.

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