25 years of evolving Asian capital markets - Part 5

Key events that shaped the region from 2016 to 2020.


Chinese stock markets become extremely volatile through 2015 as tens of millions of new retail investor accounts aim to profit from a bull market. The sharp swings triggered by more impulsive, less experienced traders prompt Chinese regulators to set up circuit breakers in January 2016, to halt trading if benchmark indexes drop 7%. But the measures are abandoned days later, after a series of 7% daily drops. After bottoming in January 2016 down 50% from previous June highs, the SSE composite again recovers 30% over the following 20 months.


As cryptocurrencies gain traction with investors globally, the price of bitcoin, the world’s first and most popular such digital currency, goes on a wild run in 2017. Valued closer to $900 at the start of the year, it spikes to nearly $20,000 globally in December. Chinese regulators, meanwhile tighten rules around cryptocurrencies that include a decision in September to stop bank services for digital currencies.


Indonesia’s rupiah falls to its lowest level against the US dollar in 20 years since the Asian Financial Crisis in a particularly challenging year for emerging Asian currencies that includes a 12% drop in the Indian rupee. Foreign inflows into many emerging markets slow to a trickle as a rebounding US economy and Federal rate hikes see investors park their money stateside.


The HKEX closes off a dominant decade for IPOs in reaching the top spot among global bourses, marking the sixth time in the past ten years that it raises the most funding. A year earlier, the exchange had changed its rules to encourage more secondary listings and biotech IPOs.


After reporting on a pneumonia cluster in Wuhan China in early January and watching it spread rapidly across Asia and the globe, the WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a worldwide pandemic on March 11. Since then, the unprecedented threat to human health, travel, businesses, economies, behaviours and livelihoods continues to vastly eclipse the dramatic but relative short-term losses inflicted on stock markets in 2020. Entire categories like travel and tourism remain largely sidelined by the pandemic, with most governments offering financial assistance programmes to mitigate losses for businesses. Investors show renewed interest funding healthcare research as mass-vaccination begins rolling out in 2021.

Click below to read what happened in other years:

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