It’s the Lunar Year of the Ox. Since the same Chinese character can be used to denote a bull, some investors might see that as a good omen for world markets.
Higher bond yields could spoil the party at some point, but for now equity markets are charging on, not least in Asia, where Japan’s Nikkei is at three-decade highs and Chinese blue-chip stocks a whisker off 2007 peaks. European and U.S. shares have rallied 50% and 80% respectively from March 2020 lows.
Markets are oiled, of course, by plentiful monetary and fiscal stimulus. But if vaccine rollouts and falling COVID case loads unleash pent-up consumer demand, economic recovery will follow. Those hopes have lifted copper, a reliable growth barometer, to eight-year highs.
Recovery won’t be smooth, but then, oxen are reputed to be strong and patient. In China, too, they are having to be patient — pandemic-linked curbs exclude the usual high-spending week- long holiday with travel and parties. Hopefully, next year.