Top 10 finance search terms in 2020 on Yahoo Search UK

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·6 min read
Gold bars are pictured at the Ginza Tanaka store during a photo opportunity in Tokyo September 17, 2010.  Spot gold hit a new record high of $1,277.75 an ounce on Friday, as investors remained concerned about economic prospects. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Gold was a popular search term on Yahoo in 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao.

The most-searched for finance terms on Yahoo Search UK in 2020 range from currencies to the coronavirus — reflecting the enormous impact the pandemic has had on the economy.

The data comprises total searches for all Yahoo Search UK users — which includes users not only based in the UK but who have chosen to use Yahoo Search UK.

Yahoo Search gets billions of searches per year globally, including hundreds of millions of searches and millions of users in the UK.

10) SpaceX

SpaceX, founded by entrepreneur and Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, made history earlier this year by operating the first commercial crewed journey to the International Space Station.

It also marked the first journey by astronauts to the moon from the US since 2011, with Robert Behnken’s and Douglas Hurley’s journey generating significant attention.

Another launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft from Florida in November marked the beginning of a six-month science mission for an international crew of astronauts.

9) Oil price

Benchmark crude oil prices have seen a recovery since their historic collapse earlier this year. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Benchmark crude oil prices have seen a recovery since their historic collapse earlier this year. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

The oil industry was one of the most heavily impacted by the pandemic, with demand nosediving earlier this year as the full ramifications of the pandemic became clear.

With lockdowns curbing travel and economic activity across the globe, prices collapsed and a US crude benchmark (CL=F) even briefly turned negative for the first time in history in April.

But prices picked up as economic restrictions were eased, governments embarked on stimulus, firms found ways to work amid the pandemic and recovery hopes grew.

8) Dow Jones Index

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), as well as other leading US indices the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) plunged as the early stages of the pandemic triggered financial panic in March and April.

The Dow’s 30 companies suffered the steepest week of declines on the blue-chip index in late February since October 2008, tumbling 12.4%.

But with the US Federal Reserve’s unprecedented stimulus buttressing the markets, it has been on an upward trajectory for much of the year, passing above pre-virus levels and new record highs in early November.

The Dow index as of 18 December 2020. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK.
The Dow index as of 18 December 2020. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK.

7) Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin hit several new record highs above $20,000 (BTC-USD) in December as demand surged for the cryptocurrency.

“We see this as a small but potent insurance policy against the continuing devaluation of the world's major currencies,” said Ruffer Investment Management as it announced it had invested 2.5% of its £20bn of assets in bitcoin this month.

Many other investors appear to have had similar ideas amid the fresh uncertainty and monetary stimulus triggered by the pandemic, while institutional interest is also growing in cryptocurrencies.

“In a period where bonds are yielding negative rates, big banks having the audacity to pay negligible interest and charge for even basic bank accounts it is no wonder more and more people are looking to store some of their money in cryptocurrencies,” said Yang Li, chief growth officer at crypto company Ziglu earlier in December.

6) Gold price

Gold futures as of 18 December 2020. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Gold futures as of 18 December 2020. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

Demand for gold (GC=F) has also naturally soared since a virus outbreak in China became a global health and economic crisis early in 2020.

Even the traditional safe-haven asset was not immune to the market volatility seen in the spring, suffering a mini-dip - but it soon recovered and gold investors have had a far smoother year than holders of most other assets.

The precious metal hit new record highs in the middle of the year, breaking through the $2,000 mark. But it has not come close to pushing higher since August and dipped on vaccine breakthroughs in November.

5) Furlough scheme

‘Furlough’ entered mainstream British vocabulary in March, when the UK government was confronted with the prospect of millions of job losses as it ordered venues and shops to shut down to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New chancellor Rishi Sunak heeded business, union and think tank calls to step in with the furlough scheme, subsidising most of the wages of workers at risk of redundancy.

At its peak in May, 30% of the workforce was on leave via the government-funded lifeline. The length and the generosity of furlough and other job support schemes have repeatedly sparked political controversy, with the chancellor repeatedly extended support as the pandemic rages on.

4) Forex

Global economic turmoil and an avalanche of new fiscal and monetary stimulus meant a more turbulent year than usual for foreign exchange markets.

The dollar faced competing pressures from its status as a global safe haven asset amid the upheaval, and the enormous scale of the Fed’s monetary stimulus and pledges to act which saw it slide against the euro (USDEUR=X) for much of the second half of 2020.

Meanwhile the pound continued to be heavily influenced by not only the pandemic but also fluctuating hopes of a Brexit deal on every twist on UK-EU negotiations.

3) London Stock Exchange

The London headquarters various banks, including Citi, HSBC and Barclays, at Canary Wharf in east London. Many banks are moving assets from London to other EU cities in the face of uncertainty over Brexit. Picture date: Monday December 3, 2018. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.
The London Stock Exchange was one of the most searched-for finance terms on Yahoo in 2020. Photo: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

The upheaval of the pandemic naturally meant for upheaval in the fortunes of UK and global companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Some of the worst-hit UK-listed stocks over the year were in aviation, banking and oil. British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG.L) was the worst-performing FTSE 100 (^FTSE) stock of the year, according to stockbroker AJ Bell, followed by plane enginemaker Rolls-Royce (RR.L).

2020 also saw the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) hit the headlines in its own right, as it pushed on with a planned $27bn takeover of financial data firm Refinitiv. EU competition chiefs are expected to rule on the decision in January.

2) Brexit

After several years of Brexit dominating the headlines in the UK, the coronavirus wiped it off the top of the news agenda for much of 2020.

Brexit received renewed attention towards the end of the year as deadlines to reach an agreement came and went, and the clock ticked down to the end of the transition period on 31 December.

Then, on Christmas Eve, the UK and EU finally sealed a deal — paving the way for Britain going it alone.

Coronavirus

2020 will forever be remembered as the year of the coronavirus.

A virus first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 - explaining the name COVID-19 - went on to take the lives of around 1.7 million people and wreak havoc for societies worldwide in 2020.

The virus and restrictions to curb its spread have proved a hammerblow not only for everyday life, but also for economies across the globe.