A lot has been made of strong stock market returns around the world so far this year, but adjusting for currency moves, the returns look a little less flattering. The U.S. dollar is up nearly 4% year to date, while currencies like the Japanese yen, the British pound and the euro are all down. Below is a look at the year-to-date stock market performance of 21 major countries around the world. For each country, we highlight its 2013 performance in local currency vs. dollar adjusted terms.
As shown, the U.S. has been the fifth best performing country in 2013 using local currency returns, but it has been the third best when adjusted for the move in the dollar. Japan's Nikkei 225 is up a whopping 17.74% in local currency, but when adjusted for the big drop the yen has seen, it is up just 6.30%. Not bad, but not great either. The U.K.'s FTSE-100 is also up significantly in local currency terms with a gain of 9.83%, but it is nearly flat (0.88%) when adjusting for the drop in the pound. South Africa is another country that has been impacted negatively by a drop in its currency. In local currency, South Africa's stock market is up 4.41%, but it's down nearly that much (-4.38%) in dollar terms.
While the dollar has gained against most currencies in 2013, there are a few countries that have better local currency returns than dollar-adjusted. These include Sweden and Mexico, and to a lesser extent India and China.