The recovery in markets, which started in February, continued into March and by month end many equity markets had recovered much of the ground lost in the big sell-off at the start of the year. A rally of 12.6% in the MSCI World index from the February lows to the end of March left the year-to-date return at -0.3%.
Emerging markets led the way, with a return of 13.2% in March alone, taking the year to date return to 5.7%. Among the major developed equity markets the US produced the best return, 6.7% in March, bringing the S&P 500 index to within a whisker of its all-time high. Europe and Japan also rallied, but less strongly in local currency terms: continental Europe up 1.9% in euro terms in March; the UK up 1.7% (sterling terms) and Japan up 4.8% in yen terms. Credit participated fully in the rally in risk assets, with investment grade bonds up 2.8% in March, high yield up 4.4% and EM debt up 3.2%.