Monthly Market Review – April 2024


April was a tough month for both fixed income and equity markets as inflation developed economies remains above central bank target. The US central bank remains vigilant as it waits for clear signs of weakening in economic growth and labour market prior to embarking rate cuts. When rates do move downwards, it is expected that the pace of reduction would be slow and the rates are likely to settle at a higher level than what we have had in the past. The US 10-year Treasury yields rose during the month, peaking at 4.73%, before moving downwards towards the end of the month. Meanwhile, safe haven assets like gold rose during the month as economic risks and political uncertainty remains elevated. Surprisingly, Bitcoin saw a worst month in last couple of years despite Bitcoin’s fourth halving that took place on April 19, 2024.

Looking at the performance of major asset classes, commodities were the best asset class while equity markets had the worst month of 2024 as inflation levels look sticky in all major economies and the consensus for interest rates appear to be shifting towards ‘higher for longer’ scenario, which is not good news for risk assets. Commodity markets delivered best performance with DJ Commodity Index increasing by just over 3% and gold appreciating 2.63%, however, oil fell 1.23% in April amid hopes for easing tensions in Middle East. Amongst major equity markets, UK FTSE 100 index was the top performer, increasing by 2.72%. China’s Shanghai index was the next positive performer, pricing in the hopes that the economy is getting its feet for the growth trajectory. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index took the lead on the negative performance side with 4.81% drop followed by the US S&P 500 index that declined 4.08% while DJ Islamic market index, the benchmark for shariah-compliant investments, fell 3.67%, broadly reflecting concerns over sticky inflation and delay in rate cuts. European stock index, Euronext 100 dropped 1.5%. On the fixed income side, DJ Sukuk Index fell 1.26% amid rising yield curves reflecting concerns over rates remaining higher for longer. Lastly, UK pound depreciated by 1.1% against US dollar in April.

Market Snapshot

News & Key Events in April


• The UK inflation rate fell 3.2% year-on-year in March 2024 from 3.4% in the previous month.

• The state pension rose by 8.5% in April. State pensions are paid every four weeks to people who have reached the qualifying age and have paid enough national insurance contributions.

• UK passes bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. UK government efforts to stop the boats and tackle illegal migration took a major step forward, after the Safety of Rwanda Bill completed its passage through Parliament overnight, Monday 22 April.


• Annual inflation rate in the US accelerated for a second straight month to 3.5% in March 2024, the highest since September, compared to 3.2% in February.

• The US economy added 303K jobs in March 2024, the most in ten months, compared to a downwardly revised 270K in February and forecasts of 200K.

• The US economy expanded an annualised 1.6% in Q1 2024, compared to 3.4% in the previous quarter and below forecasts of 2.5%.

• US President Joe Biden holds a marginal lead over Donald Trump ahead of the November presidential election as the Republican candidate is mired in a state court fighting charges he falsified business records, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that closed on April 29. Some 40% of registered voters in the two-day poll said they would vote for Biden, a Democrat, if the election were held today, compared with 39% who picked former President Trump. That 1-point lead was down from a 4-point lead Biden had in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on April 4-8.

• Biden signs law securing billions in US aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. US President Joe Biden has signed into law a $94bn foreign funding bill that includes military aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, ending a months-long legislative impasse in Washington over the assistance.


• The annual inflation rate in the Euro Area remained at 2.4% in April 2024, in line with market expectations.

• The European Central Bank maintained interest rates at record-high levels for a fifth consecutive time during its April meeting, with the main refinancing operations rate remaining unchanged at a 22-year high of 4.5% and the deposit facility rate holding at an all-time record of 4%.

• The Eurozone’s economy expanded by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2024, the fastest growth rate since the third quarter of 2022.

• The European Parliament approves first ever EU rules on combating violence against women. The new rules aim to prevent gender-based violence and protect its victims, especially women and victims of domestic violence.


• China’s consumer prices edged up 0.1% yoy in March 2024, after a 0.7% rise in the previous month.

• The People’s Bank of China left key lending rates unchanged at the April fixing, in line with market expectations. Monday’s decision came after the economy grew more than expected in Q1 of 2024 while the yuan faced renewed depreciation pressure. The 1-year loan prime rate (LPR), the benchmark for most corporate and household loans, was maintained at 3.45%. Meanwhile, the 5-year rate, a reference for property mortgages, was retained at 3.95% following a record reduction of 25bps in February.

• The Chinese economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 1.6% in Q1 of 2024, quickening from an upwardly revised 1.2% increase in the previous quarter. It was the seventh consecutive period of quarterly expansion and the strongest advance since Q1 of 2023, mainly reflecting the spring festival effects.

• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the importance of addressing US sanctions on Chinese companies during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the country. China’s framing of the visit indicates that the CCP aims to alleviate economic tension with the US while maintaining commercial and defense industrial base assistance to Russia.


• The annual inflation rate in Japan ticked lower to 2.7% in March 2024 from February’s 3-month peak of 2.8%. The Bank of Japan kept its key short-term interest rate unchanged at around 0% to 0.1% at its April meeting, as widely expected, after delivering the first rate hike since 2007 and ending its eight years of negative rates in March.

• Non-OPEC+, led by the US, is set to drive world supply growth through 2025. For 2024, global output is forecast to rise by 770 kb/d to 102.9 mb/d. Non-OPEC+ production will expand by 1.6 mb/d, while OPEC+ supply could fall 820 kb/d if voluntary cuts remain in place, as per Oil Market Report – April 2024.

• Iran and Israel, both attacked each other with drones and missiles while trying not to escalates tensions. Iranian officials have sought to downplay the attack, with a senior official saying there was no plan for retaliation.

• Bitcoin’s fourth halving took place on April 19, 2024. The block reward has dropped from 6.25 bitcoin to 3.125. The halvings will continue in approximately four-year intervals until all 21 million potential bitcoins have been brought into existence through the block rewards. This is estimated to be the year 2140. Bitcoin price fell roughly 16% in April as it faces worst month since FTX crash with ETF demand waning.


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