The Greek stock exchange was the surprise star performer of 2019

Oscar Williams-GrutSenior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The performance of Greek equities signals a remarkable turnaround after a difficult decade. Photo: Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The performance of Greek equities signals a remarkable turnaround after a difficult decade. Photo: Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Greek stock market was the best investment in 2019, according to new data.

Deutsche Bank said Thursday that the Athens Exchange (FTSEA.AT) delivered the highest total returns of any major asset class in 2019. The stock market returned over 50% to investors when measured in local currency. It was just behind the Moscow stock exchange when returns are measured in dollars.

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Deutsche Bank's major asset returns for 2019. Photo: Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank's major asset returns for 2019. Photo: Deutsche Bank

The performance of Greek equities signals a remarkable turnaround after a difficult decade for the southern European nation. Greece was plunged into crisis in 2012 due to a national debt crunch that it has been struggling to recover from ever since.

“In spite of it leading the way in 2019, Greece’s Athex is still the worst performer of all our different assets over the 2010s, down -49.4% in local currency terms, reflecting the legacy of the country’s debt crisis and severe economic contraction at the start of the decade,” Deutsche Bank’s team of analysts wrote in a note on Thursday.

The bounce back in 2019 reflects in part the severity of the fall in prices earlier in the decade. Socrates Lazaridis, CEO of the Athens Stock Exchange, told Yahoo Finance earlier this year the recovery in prices had been driven by “a wave of reforms and structural changes.”

Major asset returns for 2019 measured in dollars. Photo: Deutsche Bank
Major asset returns for 2019 measured in dollars. Photo: Deutsche Bank

Other top preforming investments in 2019 included the tech-heavy NASDAQ exchange in New York and oil.

Almost all major asset classes delivered positive returns last year in a marked turnaround from 2018.

“2019 was a great year across different asset classes, as a number of downside risks that investors had feared would materialise were in fact avoided,” Deutsche Bank analysts wrote.

“For the first time since 2007, when we started this dataset, all 38 non-currency assets are up on an annual basis in local currency terms. This figure represents a stark contrast to 2018, when 31/38 actually had a negative performance.”

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