2018: the year ahead. Maybe?

Our head of multi-asset investments, David Coombs, gazes into his crystal ball as he prepares for 2018.

Fresh from two weeks poolside in Nevis, I’ve had ample time to consider my annual predictions.

An island much larger than Guernsey, but with only 12,000 inhabitants and one road around it. Not a franchised coffee shop or fast food joint in sight. Only Sunshine’s beach bar, sporting a couple of dodgy-looking blokes looking “tired” under a tree. A great environment for taking a step back and formulating an alternative view of the world.

Tracey and I were the lonely Brits, surrounded by East Coast Americans dressed entirely in Nike running or tennis gear (they never rest, which is why I always back the US over Europe). We seemed to be the only people not enthusiastically tipping after the 18% service charge! My culturally informed reluctance was misunderstood – just as Brexit is to our transatlantic cousins …

So here go my top 10 predictions for 2018, served – as usual – with a huge pinch of salt:

  1. There will be no general election in the UK, as turkeys do not vote for Christmas – not even disappointed Brexit-voting ones.
  2. Theresa May will remain Prime Minister throughout the year because no one else wants the job until Brexit negotiations are over.
  3. Amazon-mania accelerates with calls for disruptor-in-chief Jeff Bezos to replace Jerome Powell as Fed Chairman because he controls the American economy anyway.
  4. Parliament votes on whether to hold a second EU referendum, as the broad terms of exit deal “were not put before the British people – only a concept”.
  5. UK economic growth contracts in the third quarter.
  6. Passive investing falls from favour as markets trade sideways and stock dispersion rises.
  7. President Donald Trump carries on being Trump, but markets no longer care.
  8. China surprises to the upside.
  9. Bitcoin is outlawed by the European Union.
  10. A new acronym will emerge to replace BATFANG (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google – now Alphabet, but this is widely ignored because it ruins the acronym). The new sell-side acronym will be SANTA (Sainsbury’s, Ahold, Next, Tesco, ASOS), an aptly named champion of retail therapy. This will lead the market either up or down – see Amazon above …

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