Another year gone and another review of predictions. 2014 was, I’m afraid, a bit disappointing, partly because it was a relatively uneventful year for our G20 countries ( except Russia) and partly because I did a very bad job on the currency predictions.
Overall scores were as follows:
Political and economic for 50 countries -75%
Currencies for 15 currencies -55% basically no better than chance
Markets for just 7 markets - 72%
However, while 2014 could have made me despondent, 2015 is shaping up to be much better. I usually find the Swiss/Swiss Franc chart rather dull and the Saudi Arabian chart full of positives. But when making my early 2015 forecasts I noted that Switzerland would be associated with some drama in January 2015 and that the Saudi King might die in early 2015. With the Swiss letting their currency float free vs the Euro and the Saudi King dying in January I’m not giving up on my prediction project just yet!!!
But back to 2014. I’ve rated them as I usually do but with a lack of “events” it is harder to find a base statistic. In practice we have to assume that the base assumption is that a trend will continue. So only departures from that can be classed as above 50% accuracy.
Overall my expectations were for a positive year, with the occasional set back and this proved so with the UK continuing its positive trend for most of the time. 60%
Bank of England & Sterling
I did less well with sterling. I expected more currency disruption generally in 2014 than occurred and Sterling was not excluded from this. Nevertheless I did okish with my positive forecasts in the second quarter giving way to questions in June as against the dollar the trend reversed then.
In any case the stability of the currency belies the continued questions over interest rates etc and the economic stats. With inflation under target in the latter part of the year there was uncertainty if not actual volatility. 50%
My FTSE projections were better with the trends more or less right for the year. I’m particularly pleased with my Oct-November prediction for issues with major FTSE components but not the overall index. With Tesco’s problems and the falling oil price hits to some companies this proved to be an excellent call. 80%
Iceland was one of my successes with my forecasts for continued economic improvements and another big volcanic eruption in the summer albeit one that didn’t have the wider effects of the last one. This was spot on with Bardarbunga in August. 85%
As mentioned Switzerland and its currency continued to be uneventful throughout 2014. But I correctly identified that there would be shifting in the background in November /December which would lead to the upsets of early 2015. 90%
While I did get the timing of various trends reasonably accurately, I forecast volatility when what really happened was a one way loss of value. My early 2015 prediction also sucks with me predicting no trend in any direction. It is only saved from complete disaster by the comment that the situation would be markedly different in January 2015. 30%
However, while my currency forecast for Europe was ropey, the country ones were closer to the mark.
I predicted a lot of improvements for Greece in 2014 and so that stats proved. This didn’t prevent the change of government in early 2015, which I didn’t predict, though I not that there could be inertia in the first few months ( an almost certain effect of the new strange coalition.) . It doesn’t sound that impressive but when you consider the state of Greece no so long ago the prediction of such improvements was quite radical. 75%
Most of 2014 was unexciting for France and my predictions reflected that. I did however expect shocks from October onwards. Now the timing is a bit off here, with terrorist events not occurring until December and January. Nevertheless, I consider it a success albeit not the 100% one that exact timing might have deserved. 75%
Almost as dull as Switzerland was the German prediction this time. Other than some suggestions of growing nationalism (which proved distinctly prescient) the economic outlook was continued ok for much of the year and so it proved. Although how much of the good mood I saw in mid year was the effect of winning the World Cup is up for debate! I didn’t forecast the latter astrologically ( indeed I am ashamed to say I forecast it non-astrologically and discounted it at the astrological level elsewhere (!) but not in this particular forecast)
80% ( for getting timing right rather than trend and with the proviso again that lack of events is harder to “prove”)
The timing for the improvements in economic stats was pretty much spot on. Indeed the GDP and other stats for second half of 2014 in Spain defied expectations and although price falls around December meant a more mixed picture (as I also forecast) this can be considered one of the better results of the Europe group for me. 85%
I predicted an up and down year economically with noticeable difficulty around August/ September. So it proved with Q3 showing another dip into recession. And as forecast, Italy’s position remained tricky at year end after an uptick in unemployment in November to the highest since records began in 1977. 85% again
Finally Ireland. My forecast was for a better year in Ireland with the spotlight on the leadership. This was a reasonable predictions with the President visiting both US and China during the year, albeit not a stunning one. One can only work with what is there and if there is nothing going on, there is nothing going on! 70%
I was correct early 2014 saw many of the issues from 2013 resurrected. February saw the largest influx of refugees from Syri a for a year. And while Erdogan was being seen to battle corruption he was himself challenged by a leaked tape. There was a return to protests after death of a boy in a coma and blocks on social media ( later overturned) not to mention ongoing debt issues and indeed literal debt issues. I’ve not seen anything to confirm my idea that there might be pollution matters though.
I thought that ongoing background issues would be noticeable from mid year and the ISIS/IS problem became a dominant one in the region in June and to some extent became a distraction from other issues. There were also attempts to resolve Kurdish disputes. After the January hike rates were cut again in June under a calmer economic mood.
I was right that there was no repeat of 2013 internal protests over the summer though. In August Erdogan secured presidency
I thought September and October may again be tricky financially, but that it was possible that the issues are not necessarily local ones but affect the country nevertheless. There was a huge influx of Syrian ( mainly kurds) and big focus on IS. With an external enemy there was less internal conflict and still optimism about the future of the economy.
In the last 2 months there does seem to have been more focus on internal matters ( such as the corruption ones) as external economic ( dollar and oil) events created pressures but perhaps not to the extent I expected. 80%
After the rate rise in late January calmed the Lira there was continued volatility into March and April but there was no increase in the volatility indeed it became calmer and there were no more intrest rate changes.
Things did calm down in May but the big movement in June was negative not a reversal. It was however more of the same in July and August with less clear direction.
There was still volatility in September and October , but I was wrong that this would be positive – there was depreciation in September reversed in October. I was right that the trend would not be affected though,
While November was better against sterling ( not the dollar) early December saw the opposite of recovery in value for the Lira although against non-dollar currencies it recovered in late December.
30% ( again worse than chance)