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In December global equity markets continued to make new highs as investors factored in stronger economic growth and higher corporate earnings in the United States following the US election in November.
Oil prices rose 8.7% to US$53.75 per barrel (WTI) following the agreement by OPEC and several non-OPEC oil producing countries to cut production in 2017.
The US ISM manufacturing index rose to the highest levels in two years.
The US Federal Reserve increased its Federal Funds rate from 0.50% to 0.75% and indicated that it expects to raise interest rates a further three times in 2017.
Chinese economic activity indicators were stronger than expected.
Australia’s economy has been somewhat mixed with the unemployment rate rising from 5.6% to 5.7% and the government revised its economic forecasts to show marginally larger budget deficits over the next few years.