Markets

2016: How the year played out in charts

2016 was a year that won't be forgotten as political upheaval, fears over the global banking system and shock moves in the oil price all hit the headlines. Here, CNBC looks back at the charts that captured the major themes and stories of 2016.

January

On Friday 15th January WTI crude settled down 5.7 percent, at $29.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since November 2003. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 6.3 percent, to $28.94 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, marking its lowest settlement level since February 2004. Oil had been falling for more than a year as supply glut fears persisted.

February

Fresh data revealed in early February showed the U.S. unemployment rate had fallen below 5 percent for the first time since 2008. However, the country didn't cheer too hard as the figures for January showed that wage growth had stalled, long–term unemployment remained high and the Labor Force Participation rate (people working or seeking work) sat at levels not seen since the late 1970s.

March

Brazil's Bovespa index rose 17 percent in a month, making it the top performing equity market in the world for 2016 by the end of March.

This came as investors speculated that the removal of President Dilma Rousseff, which didn't actually occur until August, will lift Brazil's economic trajectory.

April

A massive, anonymous leak of financial documents from a Panamanian law firm revealed an extensive worldwide network of offshore "shell" companies. Of the companies that appeared in Mossack Fonseca's files, one out of every two — more than 113,000 — had been incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

May

The shine came off gold in May as the precious metal logged its first monthly loss of 2016. Investors moved away from the safe haven as Federal Reserve minutes suggested the central bank was getting ready to increase interest rates. However, shock labor market data revealed just 38,000 jobs were added in May, which put any hike firmly on ice.

June

Sterling sank 10 percent in value to its weakest value against the dollar in 31 years after Britain voted to leave the European Union. A global rush of capital piled into the traditional security of the yen and the Swiss franc. The pound hit $1.3228, its lowest since before the world's major economies signed a deal to weaken the dollar in 1985. The pound then fell even further in subsequent weeks.

July

"Pokemon Go", which uses augmented reality technology to catch virtual characters in real-life surroundings, launched in app form in the U.S.

Nintendo - which owns a stake in the game - witnessed a huge share rise in July, adding $7.5 billion to its market value on Friday July 8 and Monday July 11. Shares then dipped as Nintendo revealed a smaller than previously assumed stake.

August

The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq partied like it was 1999 - the three markets all closed at historic highs for the first time in 17 years on the back of strong retail earnings and higher oil prices. The party continued with fresh highs for all three indexes all the way to December.

September

Shares of Deutsche Bank collapsed to record lows after fears hit fever pitch over the global lender's threat to wider markets. The German institution was hit with billions in fines from the U.S. Justice Department and suffered on reports that the German government wouldn't bail out the ailing bank.

October

U.S. Treasury prices fell in October, driving the 10-year yield to its largest monthly rise since June 2015. The U.S. 10-year yield finished October with a gain of 23 basis points at 1.834 percent. The trend continued over the rest of the year with Trump's election victory triggering talk of an end to the 35-year bull run for sovereign debt.

November

A shock election victory rang around the world as Republican candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th U.S. president. Equity markets, the dollar, select commodities and bond yields all rose sharply on expectations that Trump will run a high spend, low-tax economy which in turn drives inflation and forces higher rates.

December

Italians voted to reject constitutional reform in a referendum result that triggered the end of Matteo Renzi's term as prime minister. The new government secured parliamentary approval to borrow $21 billion to prop up Italy's debt swamped banking sector. First up for the economic surgery was Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest operating bank.