The ASX 200 gained 15% overall, making last year its best since 2009, but it was vastly outshone by Japan’s Nikkei, which gained 56.7% – its largest return since 1972.
US blue chips also had a great 2013, with the S&P 500 posting its best return in 16 years, up 29.6%, while Germany’s DAX came off record highs late in the year to close up about 26%.
Meanwhile, the AUD fell about 14% to about $US0.892 in the year to December 31 thanks in large part to Reserve Bank efforts to stimulate spending.
Scutt noted that the ASX 200 finished the year up “a paltry” 0.93% in USD-benchmarked terms, performing far less spectacularly than the FTSE, Nikkei, DAX, S&P 500, and the NZX in New Zealand.
The AUD was trading at unprecedented highs since the GFC but started coming off in May, when the RBA cut Australia’s cash rate to a then-record low of 2.75%.
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has publicly stated his preference for an exchange rate of around $US0.85, and economists are split on whether or not that means further cash rate cuts are on the horizon this new year.
Throughout 2013, the AUD fell against all major currencies besides the Japanese Yen.