Stockmarkets? Down.

Oil? Down.

Dairy prices? Down.

How about Bitcoin then? Don't even ask.


Frankly it all looks a bit grim in the financial world this week – and we're only half way through.

But bear with me- there's a silver lining there somewhere.

Fears of a global economic slowdown next year are growing – inflamed by US and Chinese rhetoric out of APEC, which did nothing to ease trade war concerns.

That's sent stock markets and oil prices back into free fall.

Both had only just stabilised after a black October.

Wall Street's tech heavy Nasdaq index has been hit particularly hard.

The so called "FAANG" stocks - tech darlings Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (or technically its listed parent Alphabet) - have now fallen into bear market territory – off more than 20 per cent since their recent peak.

Asian stocks are also firmly back into bear territory and the NZX-50 has fallen for the last seven trading sessions in a row.


It is off three per cent this month - if it wasn't for a high powered bid for Trade Me adding some shine it would likely be testing its October lows.

Meanwhile the big oil price slump has resumed with a vengeance.

A statement from the White House, making it clear that it was business as usual between the US and Saudi Arabia despite mounting evidence that it was behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sparked the latest plunge.

Oil prices fell seven per cent overnight Tuesday and are now off 30 per cent since they peaked at the start of October.

That's going to mean some more relief at the petrol pump in coming days but the negative sentiment driving the price down isn't really anything to celebrate.

The kind of bearish outlook reflects concerns about slowing global demand and it is rubbing off on other commodities.

The last big dairy slump coincided with oil price crash in 2014-2016.

So it was not surprising to see global dairy prices fall again this week.

That downturn is a bit more of a concern for the New Zealand economy.

Dairy prices have been falling for the past four month and are at a two year low. That's prompted speculation that Fonterra may have to revise its forecast 2019 payout down.

Meanwhile the plunge in the Bitcoin price - it's slumped 33 per cent this month - is not really material, but it is interesting.

This time last year Bitcoin was approaching the height if a bubble which its price hit US$18,674.

It's now off more than 75 per cent for the year.

So what's the good news in all this market carnage?

Essentially it's that after one of the longest bull runs in history it looks like we are seeing a manageable correction - rather than some kind of apocalyptic financial crisis.

Central banks - including the US Federal Reserve and New Zealand's Reserve Bank - aren't panicking about this market downturn because economic fundamentals - like employment and GDP growth remain strong.

In nearly 10 years of growth since the GFC the NZX-50 has risen more than 240 per cent - that's including the recent falls.

Stocks are almost certainly overvalued.

The big story for markets this year remains the steady rise of US interest rates - which is making sharemarket returns look less appealing relative to safer investments like putting your money in the bank.

That means the US Federal Reserve has plenty of capacity to calm markets at any time simply by indicating it might slow the pace of rate hikes.

We saw a similar thing in New Zealand this month when the Reserve Bank changed it language to reduce the changes that its next rate move would be cut.

The kiwi dollar rose and sentiment about our economy improved.

So we're not in panic territory yet even though the daily headlines look grim.

Just don't look too closely at your KiwiSaver balance for while and enjoy the lower prices at the petrol pump instead.