Bitcoin, NFTs, stocks and property – it was a sea of red for market watchers last week. Photo/Supplied
Sooner or later it all comes crashing down, all great golden runs must come to an end.
But enough about the Black Caps’ test record and the All Whites’ World Cup dreams.
a terrible week for markets.
Stocks, cryptocurrencies and property all tumbled. It seemed like everything was headed into the red.
If you wanted a bargain on a digital picture of a cartoon ape then it was probably good news.
The plunging market for NFTs (non-fungible tokens) put everything else in the shade.
Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs – the first to hit headlines in last year’s boom – were down by more than 80 percent, from a peak in May.
It’s all coming down extremely fast.
I’m no tech guru and maybe the value will come back. Maybe these things will still change the modern economy as their supporters believe – but not this week.
This week you could click on a chart and watch the red lines marching south in real time.
The Apes shed 50 per cent of their value last week. Although, for the record, they’re still worth more than US$70,000.
Bitcoin hasn’t done much better. The value of the original cryptocurrency plunged 30 per cent last week.
It’s off by about 60 percent so far this year.
Who could have predicted digital investments would fare so as badly as sentiment turned?
Sorry, that was sarcasm.
Despite being a long-time skeptic, it’s hard not to feel for the young traders right now.
Many will be watching their paper wealth collapse – like a house of cards.
Hopefully, for most of us, these big market falls are just theoretical.
Take housing, the best monthly measure of New Zealand residential property prices – the REINZ House Price Index – was released last week.
It showed house prices now off by about 6 per cent since their peak.
No amount of real estate industry bluster can hide the reality that the local market is entering one of its rare downward cycles.
But 6 per cent is but a minor dip against the enormous gains of the past few years.
Stock markets hit the bear market threshold hold last week – down more than 20 per cent from their most recent peak.
So our KiwiSaver accounts are going to look ugly.
But again, for most of us, this has to be cast against the epic gains of a decade-long bull run.
And if you’re young and hoping to own a house or getting started on your KiwiSaver journey these falls are also good news. Investing is now better value.
There will be some, caught out on timing, who bear the brunt of falls. But hang in there.
When it comes to stocks and houses at least, history provides a solid guide – prices will rise again.
Unfortunately, one market was holding firm last week and that’s really where the problem is.
Oil prices won’t budge and until they do the world’s inflation problems aren’t going anywhere.
It’s kind of depressing that almost 50 years on from the original oil shock of the 1970s – we’re still addicted to the stuff.
Brent crude was sitting at around US$118 a barrel on Friday and – while it was off a fraction (less than one per cent) last week – it is still up about 6 per cent in the past month.
Its strength in the face of what looks increasing like a global economic recession is a worry.
In New Zealand, petrol prices have risen sharply again. A liter of 91 cost as much as $3.35 in Auckland this week.
In Budget 2022 the Government announced it would extend cuts to excise fuel duty and road-user charges, as well as keep public transport at half price until August.
If the tax breaks roll off at current prices it will hit consumers hard.
But maybe extending the breaks is just throwing good money after bad.
If we want to see oil prices fall we need the price at the pump to deliver a demand shock – here and elsewhere around the world.
The oil price has so much more inflationary impact than just what we feel when we fill up the tank.
It flows through everything. It’s the cost of transporting goods, the cost of producing food, the cost of consumer goods and packaging.
Ironically, high prices should be helping the world beat its addictions – something we know we need to do for environmental reasons.
We should be happy to let them drive alternative energy solutions.
But the short-term pain is acute. And it’s politically damaging.
Having run on a greenish platform to tackle climate change and promote renewable energy, US President Joe Biden now finds himself in the uncomfortable position of doing everything he can to stimulate US oil production.
So far US oil producers aren’t playing ball.
They turned off the pumps and shale oil dredges as demand collapsed during the pandemic lockdowns.
Having seen two major price crashes in the past decade they are reluctant to commit to turning production back on.
In a way that’s heartening. It’s a reminder that it really doesn’t take much of an oversupply on global markets to trigger a crash.
In 2014, oil prices plunged 60 per cent in just seven months
That’s the one market crash we should all be hoping for.