4 charts that sum up an epically bad quarter

Good riddance to the wild summer of 2015.

The just-finished third quarter delivered plenty of pain to investors across an array of asset classes.

The market gyrations and economic deceleration in China, the world’s second biggest economy, rippled across the global economy.

The US Federal Reserve, meanwhile, left everyone guessing about when it will raise interest rates, though Janet Yellen is signaling it will happen by year end.


Rough Quarter

US and global equities turned in the worst quarterly performance since 2011.

Global stock markets tracked by Bloomberg were down about 11% in the third quarter, wiping out some $10 trillion in market value.

The S&P 500 Index fell off a cliff during the quarter, the worst showing since the third quarter of 2011.

It was down 8.5% heading into the last day of trading for the quarter on September 30.

Bloomberg: S&P 500 Index
Bloomberg: S&P 500 Index

China Syndrome

A stock market rout in Shanghai and a Chinese economy struggling to hit a 7% government growth target this year have unnerved investors.

China is growing at its slowest pace since 1990.

The Chinese government talked up the stock market early in the year.

Then, when it tumbled starting in late June, Beijing demonized short sellers and launched an insider trading investigation at China’s biggest brokerage, Citic Securities.

Bloomberg: Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index
Bloomberg: Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index

Commodities Blowout

China’s troubles have in turn fed into the downward spiral in all manner of commodity prices.

The rout has beaten down the prices of everything from copper and iron ore to gold and oil.

The shares of mining and trading giant Glencore (GLNCY), plunged 29% on September 28 and depressed mining stocks around the world.

Bloomberg Commodity Index
Bloomberg Commodity Index

Emerging Markets

China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan placed downward pressure on developing market currencies in Asia.

The China slowdown has hit the economies of major trading partners such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Brazil.

Bloomberg: iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
Bloomberg: iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF


Stocks in the US and emerging markets were roughed up in the third quarter as the world adjusted to the fact that China’s once white hot economy is slowing down markedly, and maybe for good.

Lost trade and depressed commodity prices are taking their toll on many economies around the world.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about the last quarter is this: It’s over.

Photo Credit: Claus Rebler via Flickr Creative Commons