Imagine if we would’ve told you last year that 2014 would include all of the following: rising Treasury bond prices, a crash in international commodity prices, an increase in civil unrest, the most extensive Ebola outbreak in recorded history, and the viral transmission of Kim Kardashian’s hideously large behind.
At the least, you would’ve guessed that the stock market was going to crash. More likely, you would’ve thought the end of the world was upon us. But you would’ve been wrong.
Impending doom was deferred by major stimulative forces, including the legalization of marijuana in several states, the unveiling of the Apple Watch, and the appointment of Janet Yellen as Chair of the Federal Reserve. But all joking aside, 2014 reminded many of the period preceding World War II, when Germany won the Olympics held in Berlin and later went on to annex Czechoslovakia.
Last year, Russia won the medal count in the Sochi Winter Olympics and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea soon after. The Ukrainian hryvnia also lost the most value of any paper currency in 2014, falling nearly 50% (relative to the U.S. dollar). Amazingly, though, the hryvnia wasn’t the worst-performing currency in 2014. That dubious distinction belongs to digital currency Bitcoin, which collapsed by nearly 60%.