The crisis in Afghanistan has dominated headlines over the last few weeks but it appears to have had little impact on global equity markets, which continued to trend upwards during the month.
The MSCI World index, which measures global developed equity markets, has risen a further 2.7%, while emerging markets measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets have increased 2.3%.
Commodities meanwhile saw a spike in volatility during the month amidst speculation that weaker than expected economic growth would slow the rebound in demand for raw materials. Additionally, the Federal Reserve is expected to start tapering its high levels of stimulus which have helped to drive prices higher over the last year.
A full round-up of August market performance
In the UK, the FTSE 100 index rose 2.05%, while medium and smaller companies, measured by the FTSE 250 ex IT index and the FTSE Small Cap ex IT index respectively, gathered 5.90% and 4.21% respectively. In the US, the S&P 500 USD index climbed 3.04% while in Europe the Eurostoxx 50 EUR index gained 2.63%. Japanese stocks measured by the Topix JPY index picked up 3.17%.
Emerging markets also performed well during the month, with the MSCI Emerging Markets index rising 2.29% in local currencies. This was led by Indian stocks, measured by the Nifty 50 INR PR index, which surged 8.69%. Chinese equities measured by the MSCI China local index ticked up 0.03% while Latin American equities, measured by the MSCI Latin America local currency index, rose 0.83%.
In the fixed income market, UK government bonds, measured by the FTSE Gilts All Stocks index, slipped 0.82%, while long dated (over 15 years to maturity) gilts fell 1.50%. Sterling denominated corporate bonds, measured by the Markit iBoxx Sterling Corporates index, dropped 0.13%. In the high yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Sterling High Yield index increased 0.55%.
Commodities had a mostly negative month. The S&P GSCI USD index, which consists of a basket of commodities including oil, metals and agricultural items, declined -2.30%. The price of a crude oil futures contract fell 7.37% while copper futures lost 2.73%. In the precious metals markets, the S&P GSCI Gold and Silver indices returned 0.05% and -6.23% in USD respectively. In the agricultural markets, corn and wheat futures delivered -2.38% and 0.43% in USD respectively.
In the currency markets, the pound depreciated 1.07% against the US dollar, 0.56% against the euro and 0.82% versus the yen.