2016 financial events

Financial markets around the world were put to the test by a series of momentous events in 2016.

Read our coverage of every incident here.

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China's economic slowdown

The year kicked off with mounting anxiety over the state of China’s economy, which caused chaos around global markets.

  • Traders feared that China’s rapid economic growth would abruptly stall 
  • The Chinese regulator’s ‘circuit breaker’ turned out to be ill-advised, leading to more panic
  • Indices in Europe and the US felt the knock-on effects

How were these events felt by world markets, and will China’s economy return to the headlines?


A long campaign, surprise result and months of fallout meant the UK’s referendum on its EU membership dominated the headlines – and the markets – in 2016.

  • Despite polls consistently pointing to a ‘Remain’ victory, ‘Leave’ won 52-48
  • The result saw the pound drop to unprecedented lows
  • Long road to Brexit caused deepening uncertainty for markets

What might Brexit might mean for the markets going forward?

US election

The US voted for Donald Trump as their new president in November. A bitterly fought contest, the journey to Trump’s victory brought volatility at every turn.

  • The 43rd US presidential election deepened political divisions in the US
  • In Clinton and Trump, voters had to choose between two starkly different candidates
  • Trade, the economy and taxes proved key topics throughout the campaigns

So what was the market impact of the US election, and what might Trump’s presidency hold?

Italian referendum

In December, the Italian public voted on constitutional reforms – with major ramifications for the economic and political stability of Italy and the EU.

  • Polls proved correct, and ‘No’ won by a strong margin
  • Prime Minister Renzi quickly announced his resignation
  • The future for Italy’s banking sector was cast into doubt

What will Italy’s ‘No’ vote mean for the EU in the long term?

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