If you could get any chart tattooed, what would it be?
This was the question London-based Bloomberg reporter Eddie van der Walt posed on Twitter last week, and the resultant suggestions showcased many of the most dramatic moments in modern market history.
Van der Walt, a South African who reports on global commodities, initially chose the rhodium price chart for the past decade, "as a reminder what an acute shortage in a commodity looks like".
Rhodium, which is a platinum-type metal, is used in the manufacturing of autocatalysts for cars. South Africa produces the vast majority of the world's rhodium. In the past two years, its price surged due to a supply shortage.
But Van der Walt then changed his mind and went with a chart that showed how gold prices usually fall before the US hikes interest rates.
The independent analyst Johann Biermann chose a stark flat-lining chart that depicts US interest rates following the financial crisis in 2018:
A very recent edition came from Lester Davids, a researcher at Unum Capital: the "Great Yen Flash Crash" on January 2nd this year:
The flash crash in the dollar and other currencies against the yen was triggered by Apple's announcement that its sales are weaker than expected, as well as soft Chinese manufacturing data. The subsequent spike in risk aversion resulted in massive stop-loss flows from anxious investors who held short positions on the yen.
Bloomberg executive editor Tracy Alloway chose the "death cross" chart pattern in the 10-year US treasury:
The “death cross” emerges when the yield's 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day average, and usually indicates that a major sell-off can be expected.
Bitcoin crash in 2018 was also suggested, which makes for a pretty spectacular graph:
Slightly less spectacular, but one that tells the story of a massive market shock, is the euro/Swiss franc chart:
It shows the moment in 2015 when the Swiss central bank unexpectedly scrapped its 1.20-per-euro cap on the franc.
James Herron, Bloomberg's European oil editor chose this dramatic chart, which shows humanity's access to fossil energy on a very long timeline:
Another popular suggestion was the US stock market's Dow Jones industrial average:
The US federal budget deficit charts shows a shocking deterioration in government finances since the global financial crisis:
South African entry Steinhoff was a worthy contender:
But this South African chart dropped the mic:
Two years ago, the trader James Gubb created a piece of protest art by carefully planning his trading in Oakbay Resources and Energy shares. He traded with himself to created an intra-day graph of a middlefinger to convey his "contempt and outrage" at the actions of the Gupta family.
The Gupta family is embroiled in allegations of corruption linked to government tenders and other largesses - for example an unpaid loan of more than R250 million, extended by government's Industrial Development Corporation. Oakbay has also been accused of manipulating its own share price.
Gubb was fined R100,000 for his efforts.
Also from Business Insider South Africa: