Happy New Year! The changing of the calendar is a time when we can all make resolutions and think about how the coming year will be different. It’s also a good time to make predictions for the coming year that we can hide away later — unless they come true, that is. So I thought I’d give my own in plain language just so that those of you who have this bookmarked can make fun of me later.
1. Financial stocks will be hot. This is an easy prediction to make because it looks like most of the bad assets have already been written down and banks are sitting on a lot of cash. They will be under a lot of pressure to start making loans, too, and a lot of money will start flowing into the economy by mid-2011. Since defaults rarely occur in the first year of financing, bank profits should soar in 2011.
2. I think about 2M jobs will be added in the US, which is to say just enough to keep us treading water through the year. The headline unemployment rate will drop just below 9 percent, but only because a lot of people will be dropped from the statistics. The Federal government will continue to dither rather than take real action as they should.
3. There will be another wave of foreclosures by mid-2011 as a lot of temporary fixes put in place in 2008-2010 start to fall apart.
4. Some celebrities will get into serious trouble with the law, but none of them will involve flying cars.
5. Apple will release an iPad with a USB port. Even they aren’t totally dense.
6. I think that Speaker Boehner will get a lot more done than people think. He has to craft some kind of legacy, and I seriously doubt he wants to be known as the guy who stopped everything. It may not happen at first and it may not be a lot, but I think we can expect Congress to be considerably more productive than they were in 2010 (which is to say that something will actually happen!).
7. There will be really bad weather somewhere.
8. I would never bet completely against China, but during 2011 I expect things to happen that will make them look a lot less like the great emerging power of the world and a lot more like just another nation being jerked around by the global financial hurricane.
10. This will be the year that Latin America starts to take its position on the world stage. It will be led by Brasil and, to a surprising extent, a big turnaround in Colombia — but dragged down by Mexico and Venezuela, who will see increasing pressure and assistance from neighbors to get their act together.
How many of these will come true in 2011? You can keep score at home and let me know at the end of the year. In the meantime, it’s only fair that you make your own predictions in the comments so that I can give you back whatever you give me in a year.
Will this be a better year or not? Fasten your seatbelts!