Concerns about the emergence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant caused global equities to retreat late in the month, pushing markets into negative territory for November. The Australian market held up relatively well declining by just 0.5% with the US posting a 0.7% decline. European markets fell by 2.5% with concerns that rising COVID case numbers in countries such as Austria and the Netherlands will lead to a return to lockdowns. China fell by 5.9% amid growing concerns about its economic slowdown and the state of the property market. It’s now confirmed that the large property developer Evergrande will default on its debt obligations and move to a balance sheet restructure in order to save the company.
The “risk-off” sentiment late in the month saw a rally in bond markets with the Australian 10-year bond declining 38 basis points and the US equivalent falling 12 basis points. As is often the case, the Australian dollar behaved as a proxy for risk, falling 5.6% against the US dollar, more than compensating for the decline in overseas share prices for Australian investors.