Sunday, 7 March 2010

Review of 2009: all markets

It’s review time.

A little later than planned, and definitely a lot shorter. Rather than the calendar year we will look at Feb 2009 – Feb 2010. There are a lot of forecasts to look at but I really will try to keep this as short as I can.

Swine flu! Well ok I didn’t actually name it, but in my general discussion of Jupiter Neptune Chiron I identified new diseases/genetic modifications as a possible outcome. Furthermore in Feb 2009 I said “anything that exists in an amorphous/en-mass state can be associated with Jupiter and Neptune together are also characteristic of the combination such as the spread of ….. viruses etc ..”

I also suggested Cancer cures and increasing software virus problems. Both of which were significant in news items during the Jupiter Neptune Chiron conjunction

There were financial successes too:
My initial April 2008 forecast of currency crises in May 2009 was on the surface of it incorrect. But I did revise it in Jan/Feb 2009. In fact this wasn’t really a failure as we now see that there was indeed a currency crisis but it affected all the currencies! As a result we saw huge increases in assets with extreme, perhaps speculative, flows into emerging stock markets.

Unfortunately other than the Shanghai composite and India’s Sensex, I didn’t review any of the emerging stock markets, but I did say in February 2009. ‘there is a currency crisis at the moment : all of them need to fall, the question on everyone’s lips is “against what?” ….. soft commodities and other assets really need to be taken into account.’

I went on to claim Russia would be the most influenced by the Jupiter Neptune conjunction. And at the end of 2009 it was sitting at the top of the list of stock markets. Perhaps not the effect I expected but it can't be argued that my forecast was technically right. In any case Medvedev has in the last months admitted that Russia suffered worse than other countries from the crisis due to the failure of the authorities to change its economic model over the last years.

I also produced a forecast for Argentina which was surprisingly positive given its history and sure enough its stock-market was close to the top of the 2009 list too.

Also conforming the commodities vs. currency expectation; the oil price doubled again during the period, as did Sugar, Copper, Zinc and Aluminium. Indeed there are few commodities that did not increase and many that haven’t gained over the year showed peaks in the May to July period as expected.

Looking at the year in broader terms, my forecast in April 2008 for ever increasing dollars in 2009 proved to be correct. As did my forecast for Sterling.

I forecast ongoing problems for UK property which based on the indices alone did not pan out. But the reality of sales volumes and experience in all but some pockets of the country actually supports that forecast as well.

In many of the major stockmarkets ( US/UK/Japan) I correctly forecast March as a month with significant trading. Though I was less sure about direction. Having said that, I did not forecast major drops anywhere and suggested that the Pluto Saturn square from November would surprisingly not damage the Dow too much. Again all on the ball.

I also predicted that the Dow would lose some old friends. GM and Citigroup did indeed depart though by hook or by crook ( but mainly by government bailout) they survived the bankruptcy I anticipated. An then I suggested that Jan/Feb 2010 would see some big deal making in the UK market. Cadbury and Prudential anyone?

I successfully identified the fact that France wouldn’t be as affected by the recession as the UK, and that Germany would use it as a transformation opportunity. I also spotted that in 2009 Spain would not have much conflict and be less affected in some way despite its construction recession – which proved the case, with their banking requiring less help during the year than others despite 20% unemployment and, as I predicted, some bad statistics in the summer.

Furthermore I predicted that China ‘ did not look too bad’ economically and that it would ‘appear to maintain strength despite the rest of the world’. So why is everyone so amazed it had a good year?! I even spotted it might look at it interest rate in the latter part of the year ( though I was 2 months out on when)

My ‘lots of trade’ on the Shanghai composite March to May corresponded with a rise again. I was one month out on my expected falls (July to Sept rather than the actual which was August to Oct). Although I expected more upside in Jan 2010, I suspect I was right in saying it is now unsubstantiated. I also spotted in my China analysis that the people might be a little deceived by early 2010- the fact their apparent property bubble seems to support.

I predicted the overall continued strength of the Yen despite volatility – and even the fact that it would have a weak patch in the time around March. I even mentioned the conflict between speculative buying of the Yen and Japan country fundamentals.

As well as March’s big moves, I spotted that the Nikkei would suffer from the retrograde in July. that August would see buying and that Oct/Nov would show volatility with a downward bias. It is extraordinary isn’t it?!

I predicted that Australia and Canada would not be so badly affected, including benefits from commodity prices and then less monetary freedom in Australia in second half of year ( which naturally corresponded with their interest rate rises) and that around October Canada’s reputation as being safe would be in focus. In fact CIBC World Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld wrote. Canadians can count their blessings, from a sounder financial system, a federal government that can afford to run deficits after years of fiscal rectitude, and a household sector that, while facing sharply increased bankruptcies, has been less beaten up on housing and job prospects,"

As mentioned already, in Latin America I found the Argentinean outlook relatively benign too. As so it proved, even though there are now internal disputes about the use of Treasury reserves- which I was one month out on with my ‘surprising steps in terms of reorganising the economic position..the peso I made no overall predictions for direction vs dollar. The Peso weakened vs. US$ until September, which I noted as more activity, but then strengthened until Jan 2010 which I determined as broadly positive for the currency. Still I suspect much closer to the reality than others' forecasts.

In Mexico I made no really dramatic predictions for the Peso and indeed it tracked the dollar most of the year.

Politically I was on fire, I forecast :
“Italian leadership problems” for the period Berlusconi was the subject of sex scandals, and ‘excitement’ in the country in February 2010 when the have had the corporate fraud issues.

More ‘excitement…not currency related’ in Mexico in April ( though admittedly this was bit of an understatement!). I need to work on my excitement analysis - narrow it down a little more. But no one can deny the timing was right.

Also i suggetsed there may be issues of hostility internally for Mexico later in the year and indeed there have been problems with the enforcement of the anti drug cartel matters.

I anticipated the sudden change of government in Iceland and short lived Union dissent in France in March

I also forsaw Iran's difficulties – May into summer when they had election opposition issues. Iran I seem to have nailed completely.

Less so North Korea. Nevertheles I correctly forsaw aggression in March – when they threatened missiles for April and did a major nuclear test in May.

I also said there would be no significant Indian-Pakistan issues – that Pakistan’s main conflicts would be internal and that India would be focussed on economic matters. This was particularly noteworthy given the issues at the time of my forecast would have suggested the opposite. But I was right.

I spotted that there would be more interal action by the government in Russia from February. Medvedev has taken a harder line on internal issues than Putin.

Furthemore I expected a possible resurgence of violence in Northern Ireland which has indeed experienced a number of incidents in the year after at least 5 years of relative calm.

On the other hand I correctly thought that (Southern) Ireland people were disposed to be remarkably tolerant about the economic problems during the year in terms of their response.

I Predicted Bank of England leadership changes in March, In this case, to be fair, we didn’t get a change, rather a very high profile month for Mr King- (the astrology timing was spot on – just my interpretation of how it would play out needed refining)

Similarly the issues I expected regarding the head of the US Fed in November were correct. Re-appointment of Bernanke was a very close run thing.

I said there would likley be aationalisations in Venezuela around November. Which happened on schedule in its banking sector but have also affected other industries such as retail.

Finally, my prediction of stuff going on politically in Germany in September turned out to be correct but not much of a prediction (if I had checked the election time in advance I would have realised what that meant)

Another dumb but not inaccurate prediction was for mid Feb 2010 events in Canada. So that would be the Winter Olympics… doh. I need to actually read up on these countries coming plans first….. that’s right, I don’t generally bother, I really am forecasting based on charts alone.

I didn’t expect 100% success, and there were one or two areas where I am disappointed:

Probably the biggest was Japan’s stock market. It did ok (in fact it was up 50% from March 2009) and better for many in their local currencies but of the main markets it was the worst performer in local currency terms for the whole year.

I also though that there would be more likelihood of the Renminbi floating around May. But despite the expected pressure from US, this didn’t happen.

I also forecast a significant movement in the Bolivar during the first Jupiter Neptune conjunction. This did not happen. However I also noted that, after not much happening Bolivar wise from August to December, these themes would repeat at the end of the year and sure enough then the pressure got too much and the Bolivar devalued. Right forecast, right aspect, but second transit rather than first .

But I am not happy with almost all of my Brazil forecast. My forecast was for a quite negative year, whereas Brazil has apparently recovered well so far from the financial crisis. The Real has continued to climb versus the dollar since march 2009. Certainly there don’t appear to have been major leadership issues in November other than objections to the Iranian leader’s visit for example. Protests mentioned in the forecast occurred but were mild and localised. The only corresponding events are Lula’s rhetoric in September re the developed countries etc and his speech re the oil deposits and a “new Independence Day. Lula’s latest oil development plans have met some opposition but not as much as my prediction anticipated. The only part that seems to correspond is the stimulus in December together with an expectation that February 2010 would bring a liquidity hit, and the Real has fallen in the month vs. the dollar. It might be necessary for me to go back to the drawing board on this chart.

Some of my economic forecasts on re-reading seem a bit vague: Switzerland and Italy for example. In fact in both cases the aspects clearly just weren’t strong enough to indicate trends so my predictions have come across as muddy. In fact not too much happened economically in either case relative to the rest of the world.

Politically, I thought there might be more Tibet issues, but there weren’t. Though there was violence in Ürümqi, the North west of China in the early summer.

I expected more issues around North Korea leadership, especially in August, which didn’t happen.

And finally I forecast more relating to conflict in Israel in May- though they did set fire to Palestinian crops on 4th of that Month.

Seeking perfection
If I am depressed it is because I didn’t get everything right! And because I seem to be able to identify political issues more concretely than market direction, which is a shame when I am an economist and finance person with no background whatsoever in politics! But, really, looking at the list I did spectacularly well and even when I failed to interpret the aspects perfectly the astrology got the timing spot on. And, for many of these countryies it was my first forecast and I was working with an experimental chart. On balance -Nice. I've given myself a gold medal ;-)