These charts soothingly whisper 'don't panic' about Black Monday

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Monday 24 August 2015 19:10

You might feel like the news is screaming at you with headlines about another looming financial meltdown after big falls in the Chinese stock market triggered panic among investors in the US and elsewhere.

Damian McBride, a former adviser to Gordon Brown, didn't help things by warning people that now was the time to panic and stockpile food and water.

It's true that the numbers we are talking about are scary: the Shanghai Composite Index suffered its worst decline since 2007, the Dow fell 1,000 points in its first four minutes of trading, while in the UK the FTSE 100 lost £74billion in a single day (its biggest daily drop since 2009).

But here's the reassuring bit. Yes, Chinese stocks are down 60 per cent since June, but still up 60 per cent compared to June last year. There current levels are around the same as March this year.

In the US, this is the long-term trend:

And while this looks scary about the FTSE's performance in the last week:

This is what the last ten years looks like:

The truth is that we don't yet know how serious these falls in the global markets could become, or what will happen to the price of oil. Former US treasury secretary Larry Summers did tweet the below warning, but we should take him at his word; "could be":

And, as The Independent's deputy business editor Ben Chu notes, many traders are on holiday in August meaning trading volumes are comparatively thin:

In these markets changes in sentiment tend to have a much bigger herding effect. It's possible that when more traders return they may take more sanguine view of the prospects of companies that make up the global indices and prices may recover.

So, overall, at this point, our message is one of not panicking.

You can read more about how today's stock market crash will affect you here.

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