The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index closed 2015 largely unchanged from where it started a year earlier at just 0.1% below its December 2014 close. However, with most financial markets coming under considerable pressure in the second half of the year, the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 fared relatively better than many other financial assets and physical commodities.
Looking at an industrial commodity such as copper — considered by many as a proxy for China GDP growth — the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 was relatively robust, especially when considering copper hit a six-year low in 2015 and closed down around 27.9% by the year-end.
Likewise, precious metal gold hit a five-year low in November 2015, falling around 11.2% over the year and leaving its status as a safe-haven hanging in the balance, as investors looked towards the Federal Reserve’s much anticipated US interest rate hike that finally materialized in December.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 also compared favourably to key equities despite a strong performance in the first half of the year. The FTSE 100 was down around 4.9% in 2015 having hit an all-time high in April, while the S&P 500 also closed the year moderately lower, down around 0.73% on year, having established an all-time high in May 2015.
The levelling off of the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 has left the fine wine market cautiously optimistic at the start of 2016. The index closed 2015 above the low it established in June 2014 and Bordeaux’s market share is now back at levels seen in 2004 — before the China bull run and the sharp boom and bust in Bordeaux prices. While other financial markets are currently suffering turmoil on the back of concerns over Chinese economic growth, the fine wine market looks to have made a considerable step towards normalization, perhaps already having suffered the trauma of a China exit?