Market update January 2024

Global equity markets produced strong returns in January. The value of the Australian Dollar fell against most major foreign currencies, decreasing overseas investment returns when measured in Australian dollar terms. Australian fixed interest markets posted positive returns whilst international fixed interest markets posted negative returns.

The US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met on 31 January 2024 to discuss global and domestic economies and markets, and to review their monetary policy settings. The FOMC left the upper cash rate target unchanged at 5.5%. Whilst discussing their monetary policy decision their press release stated that recent indicators suggest that economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace. Job gains have moderated since early last year but remain strong, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated. The FOMC seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of two percent over the longer run. The FOMC judges that the risks to achieving its employment and inflation goals are moving into better balance. The economic outlook is uncertain, and the FOMC remains highly attentive to inflation risks.”

Globally, inflation readings that were reported in January 2024 were mixed. Notably, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published the December quarter headline CPI number of 4.1% year on year, down from 5.4% in September 2023. The headline inflation rate for Japan fell to 2.6% year on year in December from 2.8% in November. The UK’s main inflation measure remained steady from the November report to December at 4.2% year on year. In contrast, the US headline inflation number rose in December to 3.4% from 3.1% in November. Finally, inflation rose in the Euro Area from 2.4% year on year in November to 2.9% December.


The US presidential primary elections began in January for the 2024 presidential race. Unsurprisingly, President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump were convincing winners of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively in both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primaries. In other election news, on 13 January 2024 Taiwan elected a pro sovereign President Lai Ching-te for a four-year term. 



Major developed foreign equity markets rose in January with developed markets (excluding Australia) returning 1.8% on a local currency basis (and 4.5% unhedged in Australian dollar terms, reflecting a fall in the value of the Australian dollar). The best performing major foreign equity market was the Japanese stock market (Nikkei 225) returning 8.4% (in local currency terms) in January.


The Australian stock market (S&P/ASX 200 Index) returned 1.2% for the month, with seven industry sectors experiencing positive returns, two broadly neutral and two negative contributors. Energy, Financials and Healthcare were the top performing sectors with returns of 5.2%, 5.0% and 4.3% respectively. The standout detractor was Materials, which returned -4.8%.


From a foreign developed market perspective, seven out of 11 sectors produced positive returns for the month. The standout performers were Communication Services and Information Technology, returning 4.6% and 4.3% respectively. The two worst performing sectors were Materials and Utilities, which fell -3.6% and -2.7% respectively.


The Australian government bond yield curve steepened in January, with 2-year yields falling (0.03%) and 10-year yields rising by 0.06% to finish the month at 3.68% and 4.01% respectively. Australian fixed interest returns for January were 0.2% (Bloomberg AusBond Composite Index).


Over January, major developed global government bond yields broadly rose, particularly over longer terms, leading to a decrease in the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index (Hedged) of -0.3%. Notably the 2-year UK government bond rose 0.27% from 3.98% to 4.26%.



The Australian Dollar broadly fell against other major foreign currencies. The Australian Dollar decreased by 3.6% against the US Dollar and 3.3% against the British Pound, whilst it rose 0.5% against the Japanese Yen. The Australian Dollar finished the month at 0.657 US Dollars, down 2.4 US cents over the month.



Commodity prices were somewhat volatile over the month of January, and the S&P GSCI Commodities Index ended the month up 3.6%. The price of WTI oil and Brent oil fell 5.9% and 6.1% respectively. Notably Natural Gas fell 16.5% over the month. Of the precious metals, the price of gold fell 1.1% and the price of silver fell 3.5% in January.

Performance of key markets over relevant time periods to 31 January 2024:


Asset class


(% change)

(% change)

Prior 12m*
(% change)

Australian Shares

S&P/ASX 200 Acc. Index




International Shares

MSCI World Ex Aust Unhedged A$




International Shares

MSCI World Ex Aust Hedged A$




US Shares

S&P 500 Index




UK Shares

FTSE 100 Index




Japanese Shares

Nikkei 225 Index




Australian Listed Property

S&P/ASX 200 A-REIT Index




Australian Fixed Interest

Bloomberg AusBond Composite Index




Australian Cash

Bloomberg AusBond Bank Bill Index









Percentage changes in returns are for periods over the month of January (Month), financial year to 31 January 2024 (FYTD) and the prior 12 months, to 31 January 2024 (Prior 12m). Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Any general advice in this article has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you act on any general advice you should consider whether it is appropriate to your individual circumstances. Before making any investment decision, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement and target market determination before making a decision which is available at or by calling 1300 033 166.


Any general advice has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you act on any general advice, you should consider whether it is appropriate to your individual circumstances. Before making any decision, you should obtain and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination or call us on 1300 033 166 for copies of these documents. You may wish to consult an adviser before you make any decisions relating to your financial affairs. To speak with an Adviser from TelstraSuper Financial Planning call 1300 033 166.