Oil and gold were the clear winners for investors in a tumultuous first half year in markets, with Shanghai A shares the standout losers and euro zone stocks dealt a body blow by Brexit.
Euro zone shares had been heading for slight gains on the quarter as Britons voted last Thursday on whether to remain in the European Union.
As polls closed on referendum day, the pound was up 2.9 percent against the dollar since March 31. By the close on June 28, it was down 7.3 percent on the quarter and more than 10.2 percent for 2016 after hitting 31-year lows.
Brent crude’s gains also shrank after the vote, but it was the first half’s top performer, gaining 30.3 percent. The three months to end-June saw numerous oil production outages, including the Canadian wildfires and attacks on Nigerian pipelines, bringing an over-supplied market closer to balance.
Gold, after its best quarter in nearly 30 years in the first three months of the year, made further gains between April and June, leaving it up 24 percent for the year. Investors bought the metal as a safe haven from the potential and then actual uncertainty of a Brexit vote but it was also helped by diminishing expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes.
Next came the yen, also sought in troubled times, rising 9.3 percent against the dollar in the second quarter and 17 percent over the year, to the consternation of the Japanese authorities. Three percentage points of those gains came after the Brexit vote.
The dollar, after falling nearly 4 percent against major currencies in the first three months of 2016, cut its losses to just 2.4 percent for the year so far.