Global indices end weak stock market year 2022 clearly in the red
The stock market year 2022 was dominated by major uncertainties and thus took a very volatile course overall. After the global indices carried their positive momentum from the previous year into the first few days of 2022, the market trend increasingly deteriorated from the end of February with the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Serious concerns over preserving worldwide supply chains through to a global escalation of the conflict sent the markets on a downward slide and exerted considerable influence on the stock markets throughout the year. The partly suspended trade structures and the sanctioned supply of gas and oil from Russia to Europe caused a significant increase in energy costs. Inflation in the euro zone reached a new long-term high of over 10% in some areas. As a result, the central banks were confronted with the challenge of limiting price increases by taking appropriate countermeasures. To curb inflation, the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other central banks raised their key interest rates unusually sharply and held out the prospect of further interest rate increases in the following year. Overall, the combination of fears of a recession, sharply rising prices and a tight monetary policy had a negative impact not only on overall demand, but also on economic growth and in particular on the development of the capital markets. As a result of this difficult economic and interest rate environment, international stock indices recorded significant price losses from the middle of the year on and analysts’ outlooks for future company profits also became increasingly gloomy. In addition, there were negative reports from China according to which the Chinese government’s strict zero-COVID policy involving tough regional lockdowns led to a standstill of large parts of the economy there. In light of this challenging mix and an environment characterized by major challenges, stock indices worldwide closed in negative territory, although a small year-end rally in November was able to limit the losses slightly.
The German stock market was exposed to the effects of the war in Ukraine particularly strongly because German industry had covered its energy demand mainly from Russia prior to the start of the war. As a result, there was uncertainty as to the extent to which German companies would still be able to maintain production levels in the event of a supply freeze despite this dependency. With the entry into force of the sanctions against Russia and the subsequent halt in exports of important raw materials by Russia, many industrial companies were faced with the challenge of compensating for the enormous increase in energy costs and, in some cases, finding alternative energy sources. Furthermore, many companies ceased their economic activities in Russia, in some cases resulting in the loss of important production sites and sales markets. This development was also reflected in Germany’s leading DAX index, which reached its high of 16,285 points shortly after the start of the year on January 5, 2022. The low was marked on September 28, 2022, at a level of 11,863 points. The DAX closed 2022 at 13,924 points, down a substantial 12.3% after three consecutive years of positive performance. The MDAX and the SDAX, which also includes the NORMA Group share, showed an even weaker performance than the DAX. The MDAX fell by 28.5% in 2022 and stood at 25,118 points at the end of December 2022. The SDAX closed the year at 11,926 points compared to the end of 2021, a 27.3% decline.
The U.S. indices also suffered setbacks in fiscal year 2022, some of which were significant, and showed an even more volatile performance overall. The Dow Jones index closed 2022 with a comparatively moderate decline of 9.6%. The broader S&P500 index fell by 22.1% overall after reaching a new record high the previous year. The MSCI World Automobiles Index, which is regarded as a trend indicator for the global automotive market, reflected the deteriorating economic situation very clearly by closing at 193.32 points at the end of December 2022, a decline of 49.2% compared to the level at the end of 2021.
These contents are part of the Non-financial Group Report and were subject to a separate limited assurance examination.