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This chart shows unusual 2018 has been for financial markets

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 24/12/2018 David Scutt

a row of wooden cabinets © Supplied Nothing quite underlines just how different this year has been for financial markets than the chart below from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML).

It's BAML's "Asset Class Quilt of Total Returns", a graphic that tracks the performance of major asset class returns going back to 2000.

With just a few trading days left to go in 2018, most of the top performers in 2017 have become the worst performers this year, and vice versus.

Only cash and US Treasuries have delivered positive returns of those assets monitored.

Not only has this year been in stark contrast to what was seen in 2017, BAML says it's also been highly unusual, noting the last time cash delivered positive returns while government bonds, corporate debt and stocks delivered negative returns was 1969.

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