Predicting the future has always been a mug’s game. For instance, I continue to believe that the markets are all in the wrong place and overpriced and I predicted the FTSE at about 4500 – but then again, I could not have predicted the collective madness of Quantitative Easing and the real fear that politicians have of the banks. I used to understand investment…but not any more. Cheap virtual cash continues to fund the markets and to keep them artificially high.
The politicians feel that they have to please the banks first and only then the voter. Governments are no longer in control of events. Nowadays, finance drives politics and politicians have become the bankers’ lackeys.
For as long as banks and governments continue to mutually gorge themselves on virtual cash and governments do not have the courage to increase interest rates and taxes in order to join us in the real world, there is a very real possibility that the current economic situation will become the status quo.
These predictions are in no particular order.
1. The disconnect between economic data and the quality of life is fueling populism. It is also fueling right-wing extremism and anti-government sentiment. I fully expect the equivalent of the Arab Spring sometime during 2014 , in the UK and some other European states.
2. South Sudan will provide the next African bloodbath.
3. The Scots will vote “No” to independence.
4. The recently-adopted self-congratulatory air will desert both UK and European politicians as it is realised that the “virtual” economic recovery is unsustainable.
5. There will be a substantial increase in China’s birth rate (the new “one child plus” policy), contrubuting TWO MILLION children to the 2014 economy, boosting consumer motivation.
6. China will continue to build and accelerate its natural resource monopoly in Africa. (One million Chinese already live there).
7. As the West cuts its military budgets, China will continue to do exactly the opposite.
8. David Cameron will continue to tell us what MUST and SHOULD be done, one a whole range of issues.
9. Anaemic growth in the advanced economies will see government debt continue to climb.
10. The US $ will continue its decline. Instead of Quantitative Easing Infinity accelerating economic growth, its effect will be to shrink the $’s buying power.
11. The sudden (and unexpected) pick-up in UK growth, followed by the indication of a reversal in the final quarter of 2013 suggests that businesses were adding to their inventories rather than selling their goods. Expect the reversal to continue in 2014.
12. Germany currently represents approximately 30% of the Eurozone economy and will continue to enjoy the fruits of a weak euro and ramp-up exports.Germany has the world’s highest current account balance as a percentage of GDP. During 2014, Germany’s economic success will continue to accelerate and will represent over ONE THIRD of the Eurozone’s output.
13. Japan will continue to prosper. Its economic output is not 75% of China’s. although it is 4% of China’s size with 9% of China’s population. “Abenomics” has provided the “jump-leads” which Japan needed.
14. The USA will enter another recession in 2014. Currently it is still on “below-2%” growth.
15. A Populist movement will become increasingly vocal here in the UK (and in certain Eurozone countries), with sudden impetus being generated AFTER the European Parliamentary Elections when the main traditional parties will be decimated by the Left and Right.
16. In spite of the Eurozone’s economic “recovery”, unemployment will remain at current record heights (Over 12%).
17. Deflation will accelerate within the Eurozone and economic forecasts will once again be downgraded.
18. The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish the 2013 EU accounts and once again, confirm that the continuing “errors” in all of the EU’s spending areas have finally crossed 5%(!) of expenditure.
19. The UK government will do well to prepare for the possibility of social unrest which is driven by the rapid growth of the “have nots”. The financial hangover caused by Christmas 2013 will be far more extreme than in previous years.
20. The Federal Reserve will announce and implement the end of its massive bond-buying programme. This will have a substantial effect on the markets.
21. The full-extent of the banking industry’s Pension and Life Assurance mis-selling will become apparent.
22. There will by an explosion in Teacher Militancy as the government continues to fiddle with our childrens’ education.
23. The price of Crude Oil will fall to about $75 per barrel. The decrease will be primarily caused by oversupply as a result of new production methods.
24. The European Union will fail to deal with its members’ collective debts. Again.
25. The Global Recovery will falter.
26. On January1st, Greece will take over the Presidency of the EU – at a cost to itself of €50 MILLION. This exemplifies the madness of the European Union when a de facto bankrupt state with zero clout is allowed to be burdened such a “spend”. Prediction: Greece will make a “pig’s ear” of its Presidency. Hopefully Subway and MacDonald’s are bidding for the catering contract.
27. Twitter, Amazon etc will be recognised as part of yet another totally unsustainable bubble.
28. In the UK, there will be yet more calls for House of Lords reform. Hopefully, as more and more of their Lordships’ financial “indiscretions” come to light, the debate will snowball, eventually leading to an elected Upper House. Turkeys may well HAVE to vote for Christmas.
29. Once South Africa has recovered from Mandela’s death, there is a real danger of a return to what I can only describe as “Reverse Apartheid”. Violence.
30. Syria will continue to generate substantial profits for the world’s Arms producers as it has become increasingly apparent that there is NOT the political will to even attempt to end this butchery.
(I am NOT a Global Warming mullah but the image above shows all the world’s water and air to scale.)