Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The world's stock markets have been in a state of some turbulence over the last couple of days. The trigger was a widespread belief that the Chinese government was about to start taxing speculative gains on the markets. Share values tumbled across the world.

Some stability has returned, in some quarters at least, following an announcement from China that no such new policy is in the works. But prices have continued to fall in the UK today. Meanwhile, prices appear to be bouncing back in the New York exchanges - which of course open later in the day - so there is cause for optimism that some stability should be restored to the market soon.

Nevertheless, this episode betrays some nervousness in the world's stock markets. While there is no strong evidence to suggest that shares are overpriced, policy changes in key parts of the world can clearly have dramatic effects. It used to be the case that if America sneezed, Britain would catch a cold. Such has been the impact of globalisation, and such has been the growth of the Asian economies, that it is now the case that if China sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold.