PARIS -- A quick quiz: Which is larger, the total value of bonds worldwide or the market cap of stocks around the globe?
The answer might surprise some investors: the market cap of stocks traded in bourses and exchanges around the world last year was nearly double the value of bonds.
In June, 50 global stock exchanges hit a collective market cap of about $30.1 trillion, according to the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs, a Paris-based organization that tracks international stock markets.
That's twice the $15.7 trillion of fixed-income securities and credit market debt worldwide at the end of the second quarter last year, according to the Federal Reserve in Washington. Neither group has released its end-of-year numbers.
And the spread between equity and bond values has widened during the recent bull market. In 1993, equities, worth $14.6 trillion, outpaced bonds, valued at $12.5 trillion, by 14.4%.
At the end of 1988, however, global equities surpassed bonds by 26.9%. They were worth close to $13 trillion, while bonds were valued at $9.5 trillion, according to FIBV and Fed data.
The world's largest stock market? The New York Stock Exchange, which saw its market cap reach $9.9 trillion in November. It was at $2.4 trillion 10 years earlier, according to the FIBV.