Saturday, 2 April 2016

Rest of world - 2015 review

Ok, so time has slipped by again and I've not even bothered to post this until now. I definitely need more motivation if I am going to work on the next 5 years...Did I just get too old for all this?!
Anyway, here to complete the set. a mishmash of missing countries:
I expected that January would be tricky but with the leadership still having the upper hand and that
there would be dark issues in February and issues of freedoms to be addressed. In fact the period was dominated by the continued Ukraine situation and there were continued sanctions although Russia and its leaders held up reasonably well despite these and the period ended with the Minsk agreement.
I thought that April and May would see a change and the beginnings of more global issues which would become more prominent and create upheavals.  However, this wasn’t a particularly dramatic time although Russia did make some hardly veiled nuclear threats.
What clearly wasn’t the case was that I expected the time around May and June to be good economically with the stats being very positive by the end of July. In fact the economy contracted severely due mainly to the oil price though we must also note that the rouble was doing better than others expected as was the stock market: so the picture was perhaps more mixed than the GDP suggest.
I predicted that the  focus on leadership ( global matters) would continue from august to October. It is a key turning point in the longer term Russian   evolution. I was uncertain how to interpret what I saw saying “Perhaps it represents Russia taking a more prominent role on the global stage”. And of course I was spot on with Russia suddenly stepping up to get involved in Syria.
I expected a more mixed final months especially December and in fact the period was characterised by the events of the plane terrorist attack on 31 October, Turkey  and Russian bickering and the dramatic decline of oil in December.
Despite being a bit off in April/ May I did well overall  with the key political element identified 80%
My goodness me. I might have been writing in 2013 but how unlikely did my words “ 2015 looks to be a positive year for the Rouble” look at the end of 2014!!! And yet……
I thought the mood would be positive, right from the beginning of January tempered by restrictions and perhaps rising rates but that the currency should end the first quarter higher than it started.
Well this was pretty good, after a disastrous December 2014 with rates raised to 17% January to March was better, indeed the rates had to be lowered.
I expected a new ( longer term) situation by April, possibly relating to inflation of asset values or natural resources. Now this was less accurate. Oil  recovered a little during this period but not long term and in fact the Rouble lost some ground rather than gained it.
I expected an exciting time in June and July but again I didn’t really get the direction!!
I said August would be another positive month with rates in the spotlight and this was broadly true- there were no changes in rates but there was certainly focus on stopping the trend.
I then stated that September to November wouldn’t really see a let up in any of the themes.  Trus but I did not see the roubles return to weakness.
I though that the rouble would still be attractive this would prevent too much happening value wise in December. Wrong. Although given what happened to oil in the period, one could argue that the rouble was positively flourishing only dropping to its 1 Jan lows!
Although I started well and though overall I was right in that the rouble did much better than many commentators expected I did get the direction wrong for a big chunk of the year. Better than 50/50 but not much 60%
My prediction was that January and February 2015 would be similar in tone to the first part of 2014 with risks, instability and financial challenges with the financial ( currency) situation  magnified throughout the first half of this year and this was pretty much the reality with increased threat due to the Syrian crisis and ISIS coupled with a mixed impact on the economy of the falling oil price and the interest rate policy. However there were concerns over Erdogan’s growing power.
I thought March to May would be more mixed but with less clear events. There was a particularly bad day with power cuts etc on 31 March but that is too short a time frame for an event to show up in 3 month forecasts.
I thought the period of June and July would be quite positive. In fact there was pretty much no developments policy wise due to the hung parliament following June elections. Turkey did however step up its offensive;  against ISIS, allegedly although opposition thought it was also against Kurds etc.
I was very positive about August and September saying there would be a real sense of concrete achievement and a turning point being reached. I don’t think that that was correct at all.
And I also thought that there might be earthquakes, when in fact there were attacks in both Istanbul and Ankara as well as elsewhere. Right type of disruptive event; wrong deduction.
I thought that further steps forward would be taken in October to December, but this time I was more correct that there might be some serious instability- while the ISIS/Syria involvement continued, there was also dispute with Russia over military air activity.
 My one curious comment was that in November there may be an attempt to subdue some political or economic activity by the government. In fact the main party once again gained its majority and took back control that it had lost in June.  I said that balancing growth and personal freedoms may prove hard; an indicator of the divided views of Erdogans plans and crackdowns 
I also felt that debt reorganisations may be necessary; there certainly were difficulties due to the falling Lira.
Ok but not great   65%
Turkish Lira
For the Liar I said there would be a brief respite though as 2015 begins with many of the themes of 2014 continuing. There is still uncertainty, still volatility and still pressure on values with the situation is not as bad as before and there are signs that the balance might even be positive by the end of February. There is definite support at this level. This was a reasonable assessment – although there was a decline in February there was  some strength in the first weeks and mid Feb
I predicted March and April would “see things all over the place again” The currency fell in March and rose in April!
But then I blew it. Saying correctly that while May to August, would not bring a turnaround in sentiment there would be enough positive momentum to create a rise in value. Trash. The currency ( along with EM currencies in general ; though in this case more politically motivated than oil related) fell a lot specially in June to July.
Still I correctly saw September and October see a return to earlier conditions, and more volatility than trend as well as the fact that the  latter part of these two months would see a new environment is being created; i.e. the 1 November election.
I said that the new situation would starts to take its form in November and December but with some uncertainty surrounding how it will play out leading to more of the old instability and volatility. And again this was reasonable with a better situation from September to November giving way to a return to another patch of volatility in December.
Ok – generally correct (2015 not as bad as 2014) some good calls, but also a big error mid –year  so no more than 75%  
Saudi Arabia
Obviously we dealt with January last year and the success of the prediction of a new leader.
The real stories of 2015 were the general situation in the middle East and in particular in this case Yemen and the oil market.
I thought March would be relatively calm and to some extent it was but Yemen was becoming more of a problem.
I said that April to June would be quite different. I thought that there would be a return to matters pertaining to women’s position but that this was merely a taster of some major changes to the image of the country. It was around this time that the legislation confirmed the 2014 statement that women could vote in 2015. The month also had a reshuffle of  the line to the throne and the finance ministry and preparation for June’s opening up of the stock market to outsiders.
I thought that more challenges would be evident in July and August. Of course the continued issues of Yemen were a background problem as was the oil price impact.
I also noted that the women power issue would be important at this point; it was when the first women were able to register to vote in the upcoming December elections.
I thought September would see a much less stable environment, due to security and image The people start to be more split on the direction things are moving. As well as Yemen and the impact of oil which led to attempts to diversify through US investment rounds, there was a disaster at the hajj pilgrimage killing over 700 which led to criticism at home and abroad.
I leva you with my original forecast for the last quarter of the year, “[this] is the one that brings everything together and sets the tone for 2016. The position is not wholly bad – indeed there are some real opportunities now. But expect all of the following to be important: energy and oil price….. women’s position, internal leadership and by the end of the year we can expect some matters pertaining to re- securing international ties  and keeping control internally” I think that sums it all up pretty accurately,
I thought that the first two months of the year ( despite continuing background conditions) should be OKish. But that March 2015 would see more muscle flexing.  Around March Netanyahu generally managed to annoy both home ( opposition rallies) and abroad ( Washington) but won the election.
I said the  situation in April / May would be tricky. And there were two themes- the difficulty of forming a workable coalition and Israel’s continued futile attempts to prevent to US/Iran deal
I thought that the next 3 months while not reversing any broader positions would be quieter and they were.
But I said that the last three months are more mixed again. In fact there was an uptick in violence between Israel and Palestinians and Netanyahu  vowed to end this and again backtracked a bit on the election statements which reneged on the 14-state solution. There were also increasing concerns about the viability of the Palestinian Authority. What a mess
My remark about communication or information restrictions towards the year end seems mainly to relate to the rise of the Israeli cyber-security groups, although it may also relate to the closing of some lines of communication and the opening of others ( such as links with Turkey).
Good but could have been more precise 80%
I said “Although 2015 starts with continued economic inertia, the signs are generally very positive indeed for the first three months.  There is potential for consolidation of position, for calming statements and for the  country to harness power  constructively. The only risk is that the government goes overboard in their enthusiasm.” There was almost a nuclear deal with the US by the end of the first quarter, but not quite.
I thought that there could  be big changes regarding women in the country by April and May, though not without opposition.
Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran.
“The government considers it its duty to take necessary action for women to enjoy and utilize social opportunities,” said Rouhani on April 12, 2015. “The government will strive so that 50% of the society does not remain unemployed, isolated, and [Iran’s] second gender,”
I then said  “June is another broadly positive month  when more change can be accomplished. But it is not without some vocal resistance however.”  The finalisation of the US deal did not come until early July but the bulk of the negotiation and hard-line grumbling was in June.
I thought July and August would be more mixed, there is some minor unsettling behaviour but nothing on a grand scale. In fact there was a sort of strange period between formal agreement and official backing and opening up where there was a lot of discussion and also anticipation.
I then said  about September-October “There is a noticeable period where hardline positions are weakened and there is possibility to start a new more open phase, perhaps particularly in religious matters.” It was October that parliamentary agreement including sufficient hardliners was gained.
Finally I predicted  “The last two months see this reflected in the ability of the leadership to get things done. However this might be experienced as hardship by the population as a whole in the short term and the advances relating to women may be undone for a while”. The reality was that the hangover from sanctions was still continuing and the ramping up of oil output was a double edged sword. Regarding women
In November it was announced that “Iranian women who fail to wear a veil when driving will have their cars impounded for a week and are likely to be fined, police in the country have warned.” And “a concert by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra was cancelled at the last minute on 29 November 2015 because some of the musicians were female,” reported The National.
But on the other hand a female ambassador was appointed. The situation continued to be mixed. 
Not perfect – but some pretty good timings and correspondences: 90%
 South Africa
As anticipated the themes of 2014, local strikes  and global economic ones, continued into 2015. This was so with the miners and other strikes and the impact of both the declining rand on the economic situation and the commodities slump on industry.
I anticipated themes of possible deception by March and there was increasing focus on corruption issues. I also suggested mists – although in actuality things were darker than that with electric blackouts
I expected a shift around April that would related back to 1991 – and in the April there were increasing anti- foreigner attacks which required the army to be deployed. And in May the opposition elected its 1st black leader.
I expected July and August to be better months and although there was continued economic and currency difficulties there was less noticeable conflict and it was acknowledged that despite everything the stock market was doing well.
I thought September would be a different matter with issues magnified out of proportion.  In fact it wasn’t really till October ( i.e. within the required month either side) that things became more heated as miners protested, and there were student demos causing chaos in parliament. 
I forecast October and November as mixed months but it was really December when the biggest crisis happened – when Zuma sacked the finance minister and then  backtracked on it. I was therefoe out on the timing saying the last month of the year would be unquestionably positive.
Started well – end of year timing out 60%
I thought that in 2015, although the structural weaknesses would remain, the volatility would be reduced.
I said there could be more support for the currency in January and February. This was true of January but not February.
I expected a series of interest rate and other actions in March and April with perhaps renewed volatility. This was not really so despite volatility in March there were renewed declines in April.
I didn’t make a clear prediction for the next few months, but on balance I suggested policy changes wile in fact the rand just continued to fall;  yet I had July  as a quiet month, when ironically it was the time of the only actual interest rate rise in the year to date.
I thought August and September looked generally positive for the currency but with much background activity ( global as mentioned elsewhere) that might be of concern; this did result in severe volatility in July to September, though there was some recovery from the latest ,July, sell off.
I said October and November would be more mixed as the conditions of the previous months together with new policies and directions started to merge. I completed underestimated the rapid fall in the currency then and even worse the huge spike downwards in December which I said would be calm.
Horrible: way less than chance 20%
I anticipated that 2015 would be a year when  Australia was impacted by global developments and this was correct.
I predicted that January and February would be moderately calm, but this wasn’t totally the case with a risky time for the leader Abbot in early February ; but he survived this. The economy was fragile but still growing slightly.
I expected March to see a dramatic shake up probably involving immigration flows . It was a lot less dramatic a time than I expected, although my more general comments about debt and resources were valid. And curiously there was focus on Australia’s migrant policy but not in the way I imagined; rather discussions around this period were about exporting the model to Europe.
I also speculated as to whether there might be a mining disaster  which again was incorrect. The related event being merely dramatic changes in ore prices.
I expected April and May to merely see continuation of the above and there was no real change of direction.
I also commented that the rather tricky situation for the government would continue. This did prove to be prescient as the challenges of February had not fully gone away.
I saw July and August as months where the overriding theme is one of immense power and solving problems. The timing was a bit out here with the change in PM not happening until early September, but this is within the necessary period bounds . 
I thought that September and October would see a continuation of the themes but with less potency and that the latter part of the year would see some improved outlook. This was the case with slightly better employment figures and 3rd quarter GDP despite the ongoing background issues.
Ok - but no stunning accuracies 75%

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Asia : India to Japan

I must admit that reading my prediction for 2015 in China, I feel I could have written a better one. Much of it is vague, as if anticipating the smog that plagues the city of Beijing , but it also suggests internal dissatisfaction. It is unfortunately hard to get a real view of what is happening in the country politically ( even economically there is severe doubt over the published statistics) on a month by month basis so it is very hard to substantiate my claims.
I expected increased power and energy, but also pressure for change and even conflict. I even predicted industrial unrest around June.
What we can say is that China did continue to extent its global influence, despite an economic slowdown. There is an acknowledged need to shift focus as the country moves away from exports to a more internal consumer based economy. And it does have some internal conflict within government – there is pressure on Xi to focus on development rather than ending corruption  
And we know that strikes and worker protests in China increased noticeably during the third quarter as the manufacturing sector in particular continued to stall. CLB’s Strike Map recorded 593 incidents during the quarter.
So not bad, given the lack of reporting of all but the most serious of events.
Where I really nailed events was on the one child policy where I expected something to arise around September. On 29 October 2015, China's state news agency, reported a change in the existing law to a two-child policy- it is effective from 1 January, 2016 after the law was passed in December, 2015
I’m given myself 85% though that is probably mid of a range of 75-95% depending on unknown information.
My 2014 forecast talked about the move toward a free floating currency. But noted that there were practicalities and restrictions that would prevent this in early 2015 I was both right and wrong. We aren’t yet on the direct path of free float, but we are on an indirect path as the Renminbi becomes increasingly important globally:
In fact 2015 has been a banner year for the Chinese currency. It surpassed the Japanese yen to become the world’s fourth most-used payments currency, in spite of an unexpected devaluation in August and concerns about slowing Chinese growth. In November the IMF accepted it as a reserve currency. This is arguably more than even I anticipated in such a short time.
Specifically I didn’t expect many decisive developments in the first half of the year. And this proved correct.
But I expected June to august to be quiet with the biggest changes therefore take place around September 2015. ( I did not specifically state it but I imply  that a float might happen then)
And I anticipated problems finding the fundamental value of the currency .
In fact there was no float. But in August  China carried out the biggest devaluation of the renminbi in two decades -The 1.9 per cent downward move by the central bank was its biggest one-day change since 1993 — and since China abandoned its tight currency peg for a managed float in 2005
(This is a close enough for my 3 moth rolling forecast timescales)  and the fact that the debate raged about whether the currency was in fact overvalued or undervalued as the US claim is also relavant.
In the last few months of the year I expected almost complete lack of movement in the exchange rates as the market awaits indicators. This proved to be so.
80% ( my core assumption failed but everything else was pretty much spot on)
Shanghai Composite
I said that the first quarter of 2015 would probably see nothing new happening. There was a chance of some speculation at but the signs were not 100% certain. There was more likely to be a boost in the period around March and April than in the first two months.
This proved spot on with a flat index in January and February followed by rapid rises in March to May
Then  I thought the market would be restricted until September. That doesn’t really do justice to events though. While by September it was back to March levels, it had fallen a lot in June and August to get there.
Still I think that I called the turn in September ok
I thought the last few months of the year would see a return to the conditions of January to April but that the indicators would remain mixed with the net effect more likely to be negative at this time, with doubts and restrictions dominating.
This was pretty accurate. Despite the September/October recovery, for much of the last 2 months  the index fluctuated in a range, (before turning negative in 2016)
I’m very pleased with this one. 90%  Though we still have the issue that direction is predictable whereas extent of movement is less so.
I am always surprised by how much future information the HK$ is able to impart to me, given that it is still pegged. But reading my forecast for 2015 is tells the whole story of the Renminbi developments very well, indirectly highlighting June to August currency flows, and even the last quarter IMF Renminbi  decision ( external events).
However I put more emphasis on October as a time when the peg would be threatened than was really the case
Here is what Jennifer Hughes of the FT in Hong Kong said on 29/9/2015
Hong Kong’s dollar peg is tough. In its 30-plus years it has withstood landmark currency accords, two financial crises and Sars, not to mention perennial debate about its suitability. But now the world’s longest-running unchanged currency regime is facing a new challenge: its neighbour, the renminbi.
…… Hong Kong’s peg to the US dollar has become something of a gauge of just how much the August devaluation has unsettled investors.
China’s shock devaluation …. has whipsawed the Hong Kong dollar within the narrow range of its band versus the US unit. Initially, speculation mounted that a weaker renminbi would force Hong Kong to devalue its currency, pushing it lower. China’s still-tight control of its currency since its mid-August move, however, has eased that pressure.
That’s good enough for another 80% I reckon
Hang Seng
I saw January and February 2015 as difficult with a lot of investor caution. In fact the index was pretty much static over the period and perhaps that was better than I expected, though the caution was correct.
But I was wrong about  March to May. I saw  the index all over the place as there would be tech issues etc. despite positive sentiment. But positive sentiment dominated by a long way.  The index shot up by over 15%
Nevertheless I saw June as a turning point – but I didn’t forecast the extent of the July-August drops
I did see September as another turning point  with positive news causing short term speculative buying. But this is less impressive when viewed in the light of the size of the previous 6 months’ movements
Again, I pretty much nailed direction in October and November as well as the perspective in December ( re Jan 2016).
So once again 85% ( that’s 100% for timing and turning points offset by negative 15% for weakness in relative significance)
I’m not especially happy with my Japan forecast.
I thought that there was a probability of signs of change, especially economic, in 2015, but that these may be held back in the first half of the year.
I predicted that in March there might be quite difficult rockiness-  geological or merely economic, with the theme continuing for some months and being particularly acute around June time. Technological shifts were likely.
It was certainly touch and go in the first quarter as Japan seemed doomed to slip back into deflation. I was right in some ways, there were changes in the pipeline that were then delayed, such as the return to active nuclear reactors,  there was an attempt to curtail working hours and plans in train for allowing Japan military back into the global fold ( for the first time since WWII)
But the rockiness I expected in March to June was not really visible.  Indeed there was glimmer of light as June stats showed the economy growing.
After July and August were quieter, the process was expected to start again in September, but be more about changing the leadership. August saw the economy reportedly contract in Q2 .
I thought the year would end with increasing impetus for radical change. There was mixed data in the last quarter as Japan was at first thought to have fallen back into recession in Q3 but revised stats showed growth.
Over the year there was change and this might possible be a sign for the future. But I feel that I overstated the importance of the second quarter.  55%
I said trade in the currency would be suppressed in January 2015 and February would see brief volatile conditions. In fact there was little direction throughout the period and volatility was mild.
I correctly saw the next months as being calm though. However I failed to note some rapid weakening in May. But my prediction for June/July of no particular trend dominating currency wise was moderately ok
I expected a positive move in August though and this was correct, But I thought that trend would continue and it did not.
The more mixed expectation for the year end was right though with strengthening despite the US$ rate rise.
Not a great result, I missed some movements but was right more than I was wrong 60%
I thought  January and February  likely to be a difficult time with depressed valuations. It was slightly true of January but not February when the market rose.
I was more accurate on March and April, positive but no significant rises. However the market hit 20000 for the first time in 15 years in late April (though the last few steps of this was gradual) and such a milestone should have been more obvious to me.
I thought there would be no significant change from May through to September either. The difficult situation would remain, although somewhat alleviated by positive news etc. But in fact after trading within a range from May to August, in August the market followed other world markets downwards.
The positive blips in September and October can’t really be matched with my statements either.
I saw October onwards as being better with moderately positive trend in November and December. Partially correct – November was OK but December less so.
Only 50%- no better than chance
I expected a quiet start to the year, positive with some economic concerns. This summed up January well as positive growth was accompanied by lack of confidence in the stats.
Modi’s reforms continued and particularly those affecting the corporate sectors. I predicted shocka/dramatic  events  between February to May which had the potential to undermine the leadership but wouldn’t in the short term . Shocks was probably too strong a word- upheavals better describes the anti-corruption and modernisation reforms and it is true that the Corporates were happy but Modis wider reputation was undamaged.
There was less outright opposition than I forecast in the period June to August. But there was parliamentary opposition to reforms with no bills passed in the session due to opposition pushback.
I also thought note that this period would have major themes pertaining to global events and to the value of assets, but also to the religious and cultural foundations of India.  It is therefore nice to see that the markets responded accordingly in July/August but also that international yoga day became a reality.
I expected some clamping down on personal freedoms in September and October though  to accompany a swelling mood amongst the population. This was mixing apples and oranges I think. There were restrictions due to droughts affecting 14,708 of its 40,053 villages in one regions. On the other hand surveys of the general public showed swelling support for Modi
I the predicted  more unsettling events for the leadership near the year end. In fact this was an error of interpretation- Modi was physically “unsettled” continuing his foreign visits including surprising ones to Pakistan etc. There was also the loss of some elections In November which was a setback.
I also expected  leaps in terms of women’s rights in the country in the year and near the year end the Delhi high court ruled that the eldest female member of a family can now act as the legal head of household, and, in October, the Ministry of Defence approved the induction of women as combat pilots in the Indian Air Force
It is difficult to sum up a score for India. So much is in flux, condensing it into a few paragraphs is impossible. Indeed the actuals are far longer than the forecast. All things considered though a good effort. 80%
I expected  the first three months conditions to be relatively stable and this was so with the currency trading within a narrow range. I also correctly surmised that inflation issues might need to be addressed.
I thought April and May would be much more exciting- not all bad, but gradual value changes . This was true but too a more limited extent than I probably anticipated.
I was wrong about June and July – there weren’t any falls and little fluctuations.  I was spot on about the value being undermined in August and that it was global events that triggered things ( bonus points for that).
September will probably see a revaluation and the new currency taking shape.
I expected more currency price stability in the last quarter but this wasn’t so with the currency recovering slightly in October and then returning to its September levels around the year end.
The stability came in the form of interest rates- after 4 reductions, (the final one larger than the rest) the rate stayed firm for the last quarter.
Some good stuff here, but not perfect 75%
I expected January and February of 2015 to be very mixed with a return to volatility again and a lack of clear direction despite the fact that the longer term mood was one of market expansion. This was so, with a peak being reached and no direction for the two months as a whole.
However I predicted  that March to May would see naivety and liquidity sending  the market  higher. This was most definitely not the case. The market fell by 10% in March to May.
I expected the index  to rise around June rise –I was talking bubbles though and it seems that that had come and gone by then.
I also go August completely wrong as I missed the effect of global falls here, though I was right to note that things would tail off in September.,
My forecast for the last quarter was better, anticipating on the one hand exuberance being maintained but on the other there is a sense of caution returning. Gains in October were wiped out in November and December. In fact the whole of the last quarter was lower than December 2014.
Missing out on two lots of definite falls, even if I did note a bubble peak in the year,  means I can’t score more than 55% on this.
I expected more openness from Pakistan in 2015
I did not expect  much relief from  violence, economic hardship and  earthquakes  though- and this was also true ( though anyone could have predicted the continued violence and economic problems the fact that there was an earthquake in October is worth noting).
I expected not too much change ( ongoing reactions to past events in March to May) and this was so. Violent incidents did continue and there was a revisiting of the alleged 2013 election rigging.
I said, however, that a gradually evolving picture would start to take shape over the June to September period and it would be more positive. In fact despite ongoing violence the level of it was reducing ( indeed there was a 56% decline in incidents between 2014 and 2015). Unfortunately this is probably due to some militants leaving for Iraq/Syria but it did improve Pakistan’s prospects.
I also get a bonus for noting the opening up in the end of the year as Pakistan received the Indian leader for the first time in over a decade.
 South Korea
I thought that January and February would be mixed, with difficulty getting things off the ground and moving forward, even though the leadership would be able to seize some opportunities to progress with April seeing the country appear erratic in the eyes of  others.
This was pretty well assessed. The economic situation was becoming harder and was constraining the President’s spending pledge. Furthermore the new Prime minister’s attempts to tackle corruption after his appointment in February ended with his resignation in April re alleged corruption. April also saw a nationwide strike.
June through  August, I saw confusion and  no long term stability in view. In fact the “confusion” took the form of a MERs outbreak and growth falling to a 2 year low.
I thought September and October would be better, with more well- being ( appropriate as the Mers outbreak ended)  and there was some evidence of consumption picking up and at least the deal-making numbers were high, even if growth was subdued.
As expected the last part of the year continued the themes of the spring and my summary for the year end position as being tough but with positives on balance was a fair assessment.  80%
North Korea
As usual the dearth of reliable media reports is a barrier to prediction assessment.
I think we can assume the continued  economic difficulties forecast for the early part of the year is correct as the US increased sanctions.
And as predicted there were no reports to suggest any aggressive actions in the first few months.
I thought the time around June might show some unexpected aggressive events. But the only known one was an internal execution in May. There was a short spate of firing between North and South Korea in mid August but this soon dissolved into the background economic events.
I saw a longer term change in September, when NK re-started its nuclear programme and I saw more power to the leader in the last quarter which is likely the result of the above
70% ( difficult to score very high due to lack of data)
I said that January and February would still see the shakiness that pervaded the last quarter of 2014, but there is renewed vigour and determination .  In fact the Q4 2014 stats showed growth at a 5 year low but in February interest rates were cut to fend off deflation.
I thought March and April would be mostly positive, and though growth continued to be slow the rate cut made things more positive overall.
I said May to August would be more challenging. In May a cabinet reshuffle attempted to address falling popularity and a possible coalition partner fell through making economic reform harder. Then of course this was followed with further poor growth stats and the August global difficulties and 1 September saw a rally of factory workers.
I thought September as a whole would be less eventful with only the background issues continuing and this was so.
I predicted the last quarter would be another period of energetic advancement, perhaps too much so. In fact the 2nd part of the stimulus was put into action at the end of September and resulted in the economy expanding faster than expected in the last quarter.
I also noted that the year would be dogged “petty” concerns – by which I meant issues not pertaining to the structural economy – and issues  surrounding women’s freedoms. These were fulfilled through a mix of aviation investigations, forest fires and changes in Islamic attitudes.
This was a particularly good forecast overall  with a lot of detail right and no bad calls– 90%
My forecast for the first quarter was for not a lot of change ( the currency actually ended up where it started) but a lot of external factors and more inflation. All of which was correct.
I saw the second quarter sees a return to the focus on longer term structural issues and the balance of payments.  And the currency fell gradually over the period to June reflecting that trend.
However I thought the background mood in July and August would result in little change of direction but with the possibility of a sudden shock causing brief volatility in this period. In fact the currency fell rapidly from mid-July to early September and then just as dramatically recovered. Not quite what I meant but I can at least see the relationship between my forecast and the reality.
I rightly then forecast that the end of the year would be more moderated with little movement  in either direction and with December is probably one of the most stable months for some time – this was particularly the case in the second half of December post the US Fed announcement.