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Financial and Economic Records Broken in 2021

Financial and Economic Records Broken in 2021
Written by publisher team

2021 was a really unusual year. After 2020, a year fraught with the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc on global markets, forcing families into their homes through lockdowns and businesses to close their doors, 2021 saw the emergence of safe and effective vaccines and a renewal of consumer confidence.

But due to the structural constraints and production gaps caused by the coronavirus, this rise in consumer demand has led to many disruptions, anomalies and record prices in certain markets.

Here, we look back at 2021 and review some of the most significant records broken over the past year.

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  • With the global economy emerging from the recession that occurred in 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic, 2021 saw a wave of record-breaking.
  • From the stock market to home and auto prices, 2021 saw record prices in a range of markets.
  • A record amount of capital raising and deal making took place in 2021 as businessmen and bankers scrambled to make up for lost time in 2020.


Inflation refers to a general increase in prices across the economy. While there are many reasons that economists have suggested for this phenomenon, it can also be explained as a decrease in the purchasing power of money (or its general reduction). In other words, with inflation, every dollar you have buys you less things.

Since the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, inflation in the United States and in much of the world has remained very low. Even with central banks cutting interest rates to zero in order to stimulate demand, rates did not rise much on an annual basis until 2020.

When consumers started buying again in the spring of 2021, prices began to rise. This is due to producers who downsized or had to shut down due to COVID in 2020 not being able to downsize in time. At the same time, shipping costs and difficulties at ports around the world have caused prices to increase, along with delays and strained supply chains.

By late summer, it was clear that inflation was upon us, although some economists and central bankers urged caution that it should only be a temporary rise as the economy recovers. However, by the winter of 2021, it became clear that the price hike had begun. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which compiles a primary inflation indicator called the Consumer Price Index (CPI), saw prices rise 6.8% in the twelve months to November 2021, a rate not seen since the early 1980s. As of the end of November 2021, the CPI stands at a record high of 278.88.

Stock market

Even when inflation was taking some money out of your portfolio, you might also have noticed that your investments and your retirement portfolio were doing very well. In fact, 2021 saw record highs in US stock markets. While some of this increase can also be attributed to higher inflation, corporate earnings saw a boost from pent-up consumer demand that was launched in 2021.

After a severe initial sell-off in March of 2020 when COVID first hit, stocks rebounded into 2020 and into 2021. By November of 2021, the S&P 500 reached an all-time high of $4,743. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose to $36.565. The high-tech Nasdaq also saw a record high of $16,212 that month, As a business from home, online ordering and teleconferencing is becoming more and more the norm.


With stock markets on fire, companies scrambled to go public and sell their shares through initial public offerings at a record pace. These included tech companies such as DiDi, Bumble, and AppLovin; As well as financial platforms like RobinHood and Coinbase (which was a straightforward problem). 2021 is on track to see nearly 1,000 IPOs, more than double the number in 2020 and 4 times the amount in 2019.

Nineteen companies, a record, raised more than $1 billion each through their IPO in 2021. In total, a record $1 trillion+ was raised through initial public offerings and live listings this year.

merger and acquisition

Not surprisingly, global M&A activity in 2021 also broke records. Business combinations and private equity deals amounted to more than 40,000 transactions, with a total value of more than $6 trillion.

Part of the reason for this increase in dealmaking can be attributed to playing catch-up, as the volume of mergers and acquisitions in the previous year was muted, with only $3.6 trillion worth of deals completed in 2020.

Junk bond

It wasn’t just a record year for stock issuers. Issuance of high-yield bonds (ie “junk bonds”) hit a record $432 billion in 2021 as companies large and small scrambled to borrow money relatively cheaply from investors as inflation began to take hold.

Junk bonds are relatively riskier debt securities and are classified as sub-investment grade by credit agencies. This means that there is a higher chance of default, but there are also higher returns to compensate investors for this additional risk. So, while interest rates remain low and inflation is rising, yield-seeking investors have been keen to snap up this record amount of new riskier debt.

house prices

Real estate was another sector that saw record prices in 2021. As people gather with the COVID lockdowns, finding the right home to shelter in is becoming increasingly important for many families. As a result, homebuyers were willing to pay a premium for such an ideal location. At the same time, lower interest rates have meant that mortgages are still affordable, driving up home prices not seen since before the 2007-2008 housing crisis.

Home prices actually started rising in the early summer of 2021, with a record increase of 19.7% y/y in July (resulting in a housing bubble, the previous record increase y/y of 14.51% in September 2005). While the rate of home price increases has since slowed, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in the United States, hit a new record high of 271.2 in September 2021.

cars prices

Families have also bombarded record amounts of new cars in 2021. On September 21, the average price of a new car in the United States exceeded $45,000, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), up more than 12% over the same price period in 2020.

Used car shoppers also suffered from sticker shock. In September 2021, the average price in the United States for a used car jumped nearly 25% in just one year, to $25,829.

Low inventories, global supply chain disruptions, overseas shipping delays, and a lack of microchips needed to power today’s high-tech vehicles are helping boost auto prices.


The crypto market also set new records in 2021, with the total value of cryptocurrencies reaching $3 trillion in November of 2021. Of course, Bitcoin remained the most valuable of all cryptocurrencies, controlling more than 40% of the total market capitalization through 2021. After pulling back from its April 2021 high of more than $64,000, Bitcoin prices soared to just under $68,500 in November, before falling one more time.

November of 2021 also saw Ether, the Ethereum blockchain, reach a record high of $4,850. Control over a fifth of the entire cryptocurrency market value.

Many other cryptocurrencies, altcoins, and tokens also hit records in 2021, notably meme coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, as well as tokens like Ripple’s XRP, Binance Coin, Solana, and Cardano, among many others. Other record-setting tools in the United States. Void.

debt ceiling

In the United States, Congress must approve all spending that comes from issuing government debt. This can sometimes lead to a political game, with the threat of a damaging government shutdown or sovereign default if the new debt level (known as the debt ceiling) is not approved.

As in the past, that impasse re-emerged in October 2021, with the final decision raising the debt ceiling to a record $28.9 trillion.

global temperatures

Aside from the record-breaking economy, some dismal records were also set in 2021. Global warming continued to bring about ominously new average high temperatures. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), July 2021 was the hottest month on record. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 2021 will be among the ten warmest years on record.

This is concerning because climate change and warmer temperatures could lead to higher sea levels, crop failures, habitat destruction, and heat-related illnesses or diseases in humans. Scientists and policymakers urged action, but it is uncertain whether it is really too late to reverse the effects from industrialization and fossil fuel emissions.

Climate change can also cause huge amounts of property damage and other economic repercussions. 2021 was a record year for hurricanes causing nearly $105 billion in losses (up from $100 in 2020), stemming from at least $18 billion in events.

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