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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
A year of market madness
New York Stock Exchange trader
The past year has been a nervous time for investors

Last September's attacks came at a miserable time for global financial markets.

Fears of a worldwide recession, led by the rapidly slowing US economy, coupled with the deflation of the hi-tech sector to produce a mood of intense nervousness.

In that climate, the attacks sparked a severe - but surprisingly short-lived - burst of turmoil.

But while the financial cataclysm was not as bad as feared, neither has the recovery proved wholly convincing.

BBC News Online offers a snapshot of the world's main financial markets, one year on.

US stock markets

After a hasty tumble, Wall Street actually enjoyed a rare rally at the end of last year; hopes of a strong economic rebound and the likelihood of state reconstruction spending powered shares higher.

Since then, however, the wider woes spread by Enron and a host of other accounting scandals have dragged markets back to their immediate post-September-11 levels.


Asian stock markets

Asian markets have their own problems to worry about. Although they have jittered up and down with Wall Street, they have been driven more by internal concerns, and especially the effect of Japan's seemingly endless recession.


European stock markets

Curiously, European shares have underperformed even Wall Street, despite the lack of pressing emergencies on this side of the Atlantic. All three major indexes have already dropped back below their immediate post-September-11 lows, at least partly because Europe is perceived as having somewhat ineffective economic policies.


Brent crude prices

Fears of a sharply contracting US economy - the thirstiest consumer of oil worldwide - hammered crude prices at the end of 2001. As the war on terror gathered pace, however, and especially since the build-up against Iraq, the odds of a supply shortage have shortened quickly.


Dollar-euro exchange rate

The dollar, a symbol of investor confidence in the US, has reversed its three-year-long advance against the European single currency. Battered by the investor exodus from US financial markets, the greenback even fell below parity against the euro at one point, a 15% fall in just six months.


Interest rates

In an effort to turn all this mess around, the world's central banks slashed interest rates at the end of last year. The US Federal Reserve, the keenest and most frequent cutter, slashed its rates by half. Since the turn of the year, however, the more mixed picture has persuaded rate-setters to sit on their hands.


New York despatches

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See also:

11 Sep 02 | Americas
11 Sep 02 | Americas
11 Sep 02 | Americas
10 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
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