Thursday 1 January 2015

New Year Predictions 2015

Apologies for the slowness over Xmas of posting. With myself and Bill Quango down with man flu it is has been only the army-hardened, redoubtable Mr Drew who has been available to keep us going!

However it is traditional that we make some New Year predictions each year and then see how us and the readers do. At the Weekend, we will review 2014 and what happened, but given it is the first day of the New Year today, here is this year's challenge - five topics one answer each:

Macro Economics
UK Election Result
Open Prediction

So, mine are:

Diplomacy - Russia will not submit and the cold war between the West and Russia may even escalate

Macro Economics - Eurozone growth for the year will be less than 1%

Military - Iraq and Syria will see of ISIS for the main part, but the situation will still remain very messy.

UK Election  - Ed Milliband will be Prime Minister, UKIP will get 5 MP's.

Open Prediction - There won't be much discussion of Fracking in the UK with the Oil price sat at $60 or less.



Jan said...

1) Russia and China will grow closer helped by trade ties which do not involve the US dollar. Others will join in and the yuan will gain in importance as a world currency.

2) As above plus the debt mounains of western economies will continue to grow with a fast growing negative trade balance for UK with the rest of the world.

3) There will be no "boots on the ground" in Syria/Iraq but the SAS and other special services are probably training hard as we speak ready for deployment in any trouble spots (Ukraine as well?) and will become increasingly important even though we are told there are no "boots on the ground".

4) There will be no clear winner in the election so the prime minister's role will become a job-share between David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband (details still to be finalised).

5) The banks will start charging us to leave our money with them ie negative interest rates and a bit of a "bail-in" but still the top bankers(in the 1%) will be quids in with £million+ bonuses whilst the plebs (99%) will be whooping it up if they happen to strike lucky with a lottery win of less than a £million.

Also there will be a major crash in top-end London property prices and other asset destruction such as a stockmarket crash which the government will not be able to stop this time.

Steven_L said...

Diplomacy - The EU will be in a pickle after Podemos win the Spanish general election.

Macro - Sterling will be under $1.40 at some point in the year.

Military - Low oil prices / stronger dollar will cause major civil unrest in the middle east / north africa.

UK Election - The only 2 party coalitions possible to form a majority will be tory/SNP or tory/labour. The SNP will refuse to vote for a tory budget and there will be some kind of tory/labour compromise.

Open - Taking William Hill's 5/6 on the SNP to win 26 or more seats in the GE will prove a wise move, but they will win over 40 seats, denying labour from being largest party.

DJK said...

Diplomacy: Russia finds some new chums (China, India, Brazil, Israel, Japan) and announces a new, non-dollar trading area.

Macro Economics: Nothing changes --- 0.5% interest rates, $60 oil, gradually rising share prices --- until suddenly, everything changes in October. Some event --- France leaving the Euro, bailout for the Coop bank, attack on Iran --- causes sentiment to change and we suddenly have an old-fashioned Sterling crisis. Shares tank, interest rates go to 8%.

Military: Low level war against ISIS/ISIL, new uprising starts amongst Russian minority in Estonia.

UK Election Result: Cons the largest party, and Cameron heads a minority govt with the rump LibDems. New election in October won by Labour under leadership of Douglas Alexander.

Open Prediction: New international agreement to tax multi-nationals pricks Google/Apple/Uber, etc. share price bubbles.

JS said...

Hoping you wont get time to tally up last year's - mine were dreadful. Will leave this for the other armchair pundits this time.

dearieme said...

"the top bankers(in the 1%)"

What low-level bankers those would be. Top 0.01%, surely?

'course, in global terms, probably all of us reading here are in the top 1%. No?

john miller said...

Diplomacy - Goldman Sachs will appoint 128 Special Advisers to Greece

Macro economics - ECB will print 200 trillion euros

Military - Russia will invade Saudi

UK Election result - Cameron and Miliband will form a coalition of the people

Open prediction - Isn't that enough?

Nick Drew said...

Diplomacy - there will be a staggering amount of spin and arm-twisting and general politicking effort put into the wretched Paris UNCCC, taking up ridiculous amounts of politicians' and diplomats' time, and even more ridiculous amounts of green-NGO money (a.k.a. our money) - but no-one will admit to the carbon footprint of this mighty jamboree

Macro Economics - sustained low oil price will have beneficial global economic effect, but cause all manner of trouble in other ways

Military - Russia will have another crack beyond its borders, and NATO will do, errr, nothing beyond deploying some additional US forces in Yerp

UK Election Result - minority Con govt, surprisingly avoiding a consitutional crisis

Open Prediction - Hinkley C won't reach FID

BE said...

Happy New Year all.

Diplomacy/Military - Some sort of face-saving deal will bring Russia back into the international fold. Maybe Putin will retire, and a moderniser will take over, allowing "The West" to start pouring money into Russia again.

Macro - Britain will continue to rebalance. The current account deficit will narrow as the US recovery continues and the dollar strengthens (I think I am right that much of the UK's overseas investment goes to the US). Growth of about 2.5%, unemployment will level out at below a million, and inflation will stabilise at about 1-1.5% CPI, 2-2.5% RPIX. As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s this is an incredible prediction to be able to make without being laughed out of town.

UK election - as the big day approaches a string of good economic news will start to filter through. New or revised figures will show that the fiscal deficit has improved and that only a modest further tightening is needed to put the UK back on course to run a surplus by 2020. This will enable George to promise cuts in business taxes in the budget, starting with a small reduction of national insurance "contributions", allowing for a small net pay rise for most people just as the election campaign reaches fever pitch. Ed Miliband makes a few minor gaffes which add to the impression that he ought not be allowed anywhere near the reigns. Small Tory majority, but loads of weird local results. UKIP get their two MPs back, but no more. The Greens lose Brighton but gain a seat in Bristol. Overall, the country will breath a sigh of relief, as it did in 1992.

Open - Boris will be put in charge of the EU treaty negotiating team, with Tony Blair and John Major asked to take part. Merkel and Sarkozy announce that they are supportive of some of Britain's suggestions.

Bill Quango MP said...

Diplomacy/Military: Its not going to get any better with Russia. As the Russian Rouble continues to struggle, Putin cranks up the rhetoric that its all a western plot. It all starts to go a bit Venezuela. Shortages of basics.
The military advisers tell Putin if he wants to take territory by force they have about 12 months before their forces begin to decline. IE - The situation in the future can only be less favourable than the situation today... So there is a land grab for the Ukraine.

Macro Economics - US continues to grow. EU continues to struggle. Greece votes to end austerity. EU renegotiate enough of the bailout terms to allow the ruling party to claim victory. But lots of fears about the next stage and the next country to say no more austerity.

UK: Miliband, with all the advantages that we have already discussed many times, manages to romp home with a 20 seat majority after Scotland doesn't go totally SNP. No one is very satisfied with the result. Especially the Kkippers who are
1. blamed for the Labour victory
2. Denied a referendum.

Miliband finds himself in Cameron's shoes. His party is splitting on the EU issue even as he announces his super-rich-mansion-extra-save-the NHS-and-Cuddly-Bunnies-Eco-Banker tax that raises the top rate of tax to 66% on earnings over £1 million.

Open - We hear no more about Fuel price freezes in 2015. Except briefly when the Russians do actually turn off the gas after the Western Ukraine invasion.

James Higham said...

Is Mr. Drew part-cyborg?

Nick Drew said...

Part ?

actually I am a figment of Mr Q's fertile imagination

General Wiiliam Hague said...

The Great Powers will run short of supplies and the logistics will be unable to cope with the demands for food, forage and ammunition. The ill judged French plan XVII ends with very heavy losses, mainly French ones. The Germans, never having committed the strength to the right flank that was required, and not having the reserves in any case to follow up attacks, call off the assault after General Joffree's bold , if costly assaults in front of Paris.
The BEF, having fought at the Mons, and being reluctantly drawn into the Marne battles, is at only some 50% effective strength.
The Russians foolish assault on both and Austro-Hungry and Eastern Germany is matched only bt the Austo-Hungarians even more foolhardy assaults and the Germans being only 1/3 the strength of the Russians.

In the west, as troops stop to rest and to await supplies and reinforcements, they dig trenches which run from the north sea to Switzerland. Here they wait. And the western war of maneuver, is ended for 4 years.

The Mark falls some 10%, as does the £. The Franc a little more.

The USA economy becomes growing, receiving orders, especially for food and steel, from the great powers.

So .. predictions for next year.

Not much .
The Huns will pull the Turks into the war. A second front will be attempted in Turkey. The Allies, not to be outdone, will pull the Italians into the war. German and French offensives will accomplish little.
The Pope and the US president's calls for peace will go unheeded.

The war will continue

Malcolm Tucker said...

Afghanistan is going to go all ISIL. Taliban advancing on Kabul before New Year 2015.

AndrewZ said...

(1) Diplomacy - The Russian economy cannot withstand a prolonged conflict with the West during a period of low oil prices. But Ukraine isn't in any better shape and the West would rather trade than fight anyway. Therefore Putin can expect to be offered a "face-saving deal" on favourable terms fairly soon - opinions will vary as to whose face is being saved. He'll probably want to keep the pressure up through the winter to wear down Ukrainian resistance, but Ukraine's President Poroshenko has already admitted that there is "no military solution in Donbas".

A Russian invasion of the rest of Ukraine is extremely unlikely. Controlling the territory after they'd captured it would require a massive occupation force that would face a long guerrilla war against nationalist partisans. Morale in the army would collapse as thousands of conscripts died for a cause they didn't believe in and the financial cost would be unbearable. It would be Afghanistan 2.0, with no exit strategy other than a retreat to the old borders that would amount to a total and humiliating defeat. Putin is a sufficiently rational actor to understand this.

(2) Macro Economics - Another year of stagnation in the Eurozone. Europe's "leaders" will put together some kind of deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone but they will not contemplate any real change, for fear that any interruption to the seemingly inexorable process of European political integration might halt it altogether.

(3) UK Election - The SNP won't take many Labour seats because left-wing Scottish voters know that only Labour can win a UK election. Greens and UKIP will gain a few seats each but the LibDems will remain the largest of the minor parties because they have a few safe seats and are more professional and better-organised than the other two. Labour's electoral advantages will be largely negated by the Miliband factor, and the comparative success of the smaller parties will leave both Labour and the Conservatives just short of a majority. It therefore comes down to who can form a viable coalition. Labour will prove unable to form a coalition with the SNP, LibDems, Conservatives or UKIP because the party members hate them all so much, and the Greens won't have enough seats to make up the difference. So we'll end up with another Conservative-LibDem coalition.

(4) Open Prediction - Most of the factions in the Middle East's various conflicts are dependent on oil or gas revenue (from their own territory or via a state sponsor), so they will begin to attack each others' pipelines, tankers, etc. Brief interruptions in supply will cause sudden spikes in the price of oil, and western Europe will suddenly become much more interested in maintaining good relations with Russia.

andrew said...

China supports the Norks despite US pressure
China supports Russia (up to a point)
Russia still in Ukraine despite EU/US pressure
ISIS 'rebrands' and becomes a fractured series of militia clans.
Offshoots appear in Iran, on round the Caspian into most countries that end in 'an'. The offshoots get violently suppressed.

Macro Economics
UK Interest rates dont rise
China has a bit of a financial crisis (bank collapse), but this is 'rectified' by the state.
USD strengthens
CHF base rates officially negative

See Diplomacy, but also
Internal unrest in China as growth slows will be suppressed by the Army.

UK Election Result
To total amazement of many, small Con majority. No-one notices (see open prediction)

Open Prediction
Emergence of Pope as top level international peace broker.
He might not succeed all the time, will get nowhere in the moslem/moslem world, but he is a small beacon of hope (i am not religious).

Power is being 'dumb-belled' - or 'localised'
Most things it used to take a government to do can now be done by a small group of people quite efficiently:-
- blow stuff up (fill in your favourite terrorist)
- kill random people (most of the US)
- wage war (Isis / Ukraine)
- have some control over govt policy (Koch Bros / Barclay Bros)
- educateion (sic - Free Schools)
- collect taxes (charities / banks)

There are just a few things only a few really big govts can do
- enforce their will anywhere in the world (US)

Both (a) and (b) are glued into one predictive theme :-
All but one National Government will become less important.

Devil's Kitchen said...

1) Following on from my predictions of last year, the government will continue to release stories about imminent black-outs. Rolling black-outs will start—probably in the cold February—initially disguised as equipment failures.

2) Mark Reckless will lose his seat, but Carswell will keep his: UKIP will will another four seats (mostly in coastal seats).

3) The Eurozone will enter deflation.

4) Measures to increase the contributory part of benefits, i.e. increased taxes on workers, will be introduced, e.g. a disguised increase in National Insurance.


Wombat of Sin said...

Diplomacy - Russia, the EU and the US will continue to show none of them are especially adroit at it. Further dick-waving antics from Putin, further pressure from the US, further clucking from the EU.

Macro Economics - UK continues growth, EU descends into deflation, US stumbles. Good chance of a Grexit, which the Germans will state to be survivable, and (if it happens) will initially improve faith in the Euro, but will (as a consequence) mean the other wonky (on a relative scale...) Eurozone economies get a serious kicking as investors watch Greece exit, default and restructure.

Military - SNAFU.

Election - Labour-led coalition. Miliband will cave into most demands from SNP, Lib-Dems and Greens to give him the thoroughly poisoned chalice he'll drink deeply from. Around 2 years into it there'll be a new Labour leader.

Open - France will have an interesting year.

Budgie said...

1. Diplomacy
- IS continues to cause trouble;
- Assad will hold out unless assassinated;
- Kingdom of North Korea follows China's lead to fascism;
- More UN green blob endorsement;
- Putin will not be forced to back down by EU/USA;
- Russia and China work together;

2. Macro Economics (UK)
- Growth c3%;
- CPI initially dips, but rises later in year to c2%;
- Borrowing about £90B (still);
- Bank rate up straight after election, then to c1.5% by year end;
- House prices stable but expensive ones down (stamp duty/mansion tax);
- Brent c$70 after dip below $50;
- More top down "cuts" that don't achieve anything;
- NHS managerialism continues to fail and cost;

3. Military
- UK boots on the ground in Iraq/Syria (special forces, training);
- No major military adventures in eastern Europe;
- Continued military/terrorist Islamification in Africa and mid-east;
- West expands use of Drones;

4. UK General Election
- Labour/SNP/Green coalition;
- Conservatives about same as Labour;
- SNP get 30+ MPs;
- LibDems below 20 MPs;
- UKIP 12+ MPs;
- Greens 3 MPs;
- No other party will work with the Tories;
- Cameron resigns as leader, May wins;
- No EU referendum;

5. Open
- something unpredictable will happen;
- Euro will survive (again);
- Eurozone will not break up (again);
- Eurozone growth 0%
- China growth slows;
- World economic growth low;