Forecasting the world in 2018

时间:2018-01-12 单词数:6540

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Will Trump trigger a trade war with China?


Yes. In 2018 President Trump will deliver on some of his protectionist campaign rhetoric by taking punitive actions against China. The most likely triggers for action will be official reports that the Trump administration has commissioned into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property, and its subsidised production of steel and aluminium.


The president, spurred on by his trade team, is likely to order retaliatory measures, including tariffs. Whether that marks the first shot in a trade war will depend on how China reacts. A Chinese decision to impose retaliatory tariffs, or to take America to the World Trade Organization, will signal the opening of hostilities.


Will Theresa May remain prime minister in 2018?


Yes. Mrs May lost most of her authority with the bungled snap election. But the past few months have been kinder. Sealing a Brexit divorce deal has ensured short-term job security.


So until Brexit is formally complete in 2019, or an appealing alternative emerges, the Conservative party will keep her where she is. Remainers and Leavers alike wish to avoid a civil war that would be sparked by moving against her. What was thought to be an unsustainable position is proving surprisingly sustainable.


Will a stable and liquid bitcoin futures market develop?


No. One way it could play out: after a tentative start involving lots of trading stops, bitcoin futures will slowly begin to attract institutional money. Commodity Futures Trading Commission positioning data will reflect the extraordinary long bias that exists for the product among money managers.


As the huge cost of rolling futures positions becomes self-evident, longs will complain ever more loudly about routine divergences around settlement time. Just as a senate hearing is being scheduled to investigate potential manipulation of the market, futures prices will fall below spot, initiating a sell-off.


Will impeachment proceedings begin against Donald Trump?


Yes - just. Democrats will regain control of the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections. Though they will not take charge until January 2019, they will waste no time preparing the House Judiciary paperwork. Mr Trump will label it a “witch hunt”.


But another year of his surreal presidency makes it all but inevitable Democrats will campaign on a pledge to hold him to account. Whatever Robert Mueller’s investigation unearths before then is unlikely to turn enough Republicans against him.

但在特朗普怪诞的总统任期又持续了一年之后,民主党将几乎不可避免地展开造势活动,誓要让特朗普承担责任。在此之前,无论罗伯特.米勒(Robert Mueller)的调查发现了什么,都不可能让足够多的共和党人倒戈反对特朗普。

No. Football punditry is a mug’s game. Better to have the benefit of hindsight. There have been 20 previous World Cups. Of those, Brazil (five titles) and Germany (four), are regular contenders. Home advantage helps, with host nations winning the trophy six times. But next year’s festival of football is being held in Russia, which has the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.


Will a nation other than Brazil, Germany or Spain win the World Cup?


Will Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi try any more unorthodox economic experiments?


Yes. Mr Modi’s overnight ban on using high-value bank notes was a big shock, and seriously disrupted the economy. But it delivered rich political rewards, bolstering the premier’s image as a decisive leader willing to take tough action against corruption.


With the next general elections due in 2019, Mr Modi will be tempted to deliver one more big bang to dazzle voters. Watch out for dramatic action against wealthy individuals holding properties in others’ names to hide their ownership.


Will Emmanuel Macron secure a commitment from German chancellor Angela Merkel on a eurozone budget?


No. Ms Merkel may accept a small eurozone investment fund, but it will fall short of the French president’s ambitions. Mr Macron wants a “road map” to a budget equivalent to several percentage points of eurozone output, supervised by a finance minister, all to absorb economic shocks. Ms Merkel is inclined to acquiesce, but she has emerged politically weakened from federal elections and will be unable to impose such a decision on her largely sceptical public.