May 2012: The Month in Charts
While financial markets were uneasy and volatile during April, by early May they were teetering on the brink of panic. The inconclusive Greek election May 6th – which left the country effectively leaderless at the worst possible moment in the three years it has spent trying to come to grips with its fiscal crisis – was the last straw, and the “risk on/risk off” pendulum swung decisively back in the direction of “risk off”. By the end of the month, the hunger for safe havens was so great that yields on both U.S. Treasuries and German government bonds had fallen to levels not seen in the lifetimes of the vast majority of traders worldwide. Every piece of news that emerged – an initial jobless claims figure in the United States that was slightly higher than expected – was viewed as a harbinger of a double-dip recession rather than as a temporary hiccup.
At the root of it all is Europe, of course. So that is where we begin our monthly review of May’s highlights and lowlights – captured in the form of Datastream charts. Follow the slideshow through to the end, however, and we’ll take a look at the way the eurozone’s woes are taking a toll thousands of miles away from its borders, as even once-robust emerging economies see their prospects for economic growth dwindle.
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