There are no slow years when it comes to the world economy. When dealing with such a fluid, dynamic phenomenon there are always bound to be talking points over the course of a year. True to form, 2011 was no different, with more than its fair share of highlights (and lowlights) both here and abroad. From the global share market, to activities within the US and Europe, and of course the rugby world cup, there was scarcely a dull moment all year.
Share Market Activity
Things certainly got off to a bang in the US, with widespread drops causing acute economic concern around the start of the year. This soon mellowed though, and the market eventually returned to equilibrium later in the year. Though it made no overall gain, it more importantly avoided taking on a sustainable loss.
Over on our shores in New Zealand, business was quiet overall, but a handful of our biggest firms had remarkably productive years. Auckland Airport, Mainfreight, and Port of Tauranga all made gains of approximately 20, 30 and 38 percent respectively. Investors that stuck by the mainstay companies of the New Zealand stock exchange, were rewarded for their loyalty in kind.
Trouble Afoot In Europe
Though the all out doomsday predictions for the European economy proved inaccurate, that doesn't mean 2011 was a great year overall. The European economy is closer than ever to going backwards in its economic growth. Now they have another year to fight against defaulting or the collapse of the central currency in general.
The US Stays Largely on the Sidelines
What was most interesting about the US economy this year, at least from a governmental perspective, was that they were content to get little done. The now infamous credit rating downgrade was born of far too much in-fighting, which led to indecision and blame sharing. Housing prices remained on a slide and the US generally confirmed its own economic fallibility by not jumping to action sooner.
The All Blacks Won the World Cup
This is hardly an economic event all on its own, but must be included in any 2011 round up. The world cup was expected to be a significant economic boost to New Zealand. Though it was far milder than previously predicted, the excitement of lifting the cup helped to distract from economic turmoil elsewhere. Some would say it also had a positive flow on effect for National in term of helping galvanise support for them ahead of the election.
It's been a year of ups and downs - now to see what 2012 will bring!