As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to tally up the best- and worst-performing investments of the year.
Here they are, in glorious and sometimes excruciating detail.
While those going long the Somali Shilling saw nice returns in 2015, anyone who thought the Azerbaijani Manat would rise was very wrong. That currency fell to a 20 year low after the central bank relinquished control of its exchange rate.
World Equity Indices
Jamaican stocks were a pretty good place to invest this year; the island nation’s index rose more than 80 percent. As for losers, political woes and lower oil prices have hurt the Ukrainian equities index, which has tumbled 56 percent year-to-date.
It was an annus horribilis for the commodities sector, where screens bled red this year. In energy, heating oil was the worst performer, trailed closely by West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude oil. In the metals category, platinum and palladium were both down roughly 30 percent. To the joy of gold bugs everywhere, the shiny metal suffered the least pain, falling “just” 10 percent. Fittingly, some green could be found in agriculture; while coffee slumped 25 percent, cotton and sugar are in positive territory for 2015.
Ukrainian stocks might not have fared well this year, but the country’s bonds recovered from their biggest slide ever following the agreement of a debt restructuring deal that was more favorable to bondholders than was initially expected. Unsurprisingly, given political and economic turmoil in the country, the bonds in Brazil took the three bottom spots.
As for corporate bonds, high-yield debt sold by companies with more fragile balance sheets had a tough 2015. In particular, it was not a good year to hold bonds from Arch Coal Inc., which took three of five bottom spots ahead of a potential bankruptcy filing. Some Ukrainian and Russian corporates nabbed the top spots in the junk bond category.
Investment-grade corporate bonds sold by companies with relatively strong balance sheets fared better, notwithstanding some energy-related weakness. Bonds issued by Freeport-McMoRan Inc., which specializes in metals and oil, posted negative returns.