2010 didn't quite bring the economic recovery, and attendant jobs, many were hoping for. How about 2011? The Financial Times is only one of the publications publishing predictions like mad. Here's a roundup of some of the bets for the coming year in business and the global economy:
- U.S. House Prices Will Continue to Fall Gary Shilling says they'll "drop another 20%." Bill McBride of CalculatedRisk puts it at more like 5-10%, with Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, McBride points out, thinking it will be more like 5%. Reuters's Felix Salmon makes a broader prediction:
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the US homeownership rate fall a lot in coming years, back down below even its long-term mean around 64%. And if that happens, prices—both to rent and to buy--are almost certain to fall from current levels.
- Europe: the Euro Will Survive Both Martin Wolf and Wolfgang Münchau, in separate pieces for the Financial Times, think the euro will outlast the year. Wolf says "the will of members to keep the eurozone functioning has proved strong enough to prevent an outright default, let alone a departure from the currency union." He thinks "the euro will surely survive, even in the long run, if in a diminished form, among the economies that are able to live with Germany." Münchau wonders "in what condition" the currency will survive, predicting "more funding crises," as well as "public backlash against ... austerity programs." Gideon Rachman, in fact, thinks these programs may cause significant "social unrest."
- China Will Remain Strong "There is no China bubble, so it cannot pop," declares James Kynge at the Financial Times.
- WikiLeaks Will Face Competition from 'Copycats' Says James Crabtree: "Just as Napster pioneered music downloading but was soon surpassed, in the next year one of WikiLeaks' imitators will overtake it."
- 'Seven Bets for a Better Year for Business in 2011' This one's from the Financial Times' John Gapper. The bets include that the Oscar will go to "a big-budget film of the sort Hollywood depends on," perhaps to Inception instead of The King's Speech; "private stock exchanges will be hit by a scandal," so-called "Big Pharma" will drop "early-stage research" on one of their expensive and unproductive "potential blockbusters,"; and "China will overtake Silicon Valley in green energy." Particularly interesting for Americans: "The US will make a profit from AIG."
- Don't Celebrate Just Yet Analyst David Rosenberg is pretty gloomy in his 2011 summary, reported at Business Insider by Leah Goldman and Gus Lubin. He thinks, for starters, the enthusiasm on U.S. equity is a little much. "In my view," he writes more broadly, "real GDP growth in the U.S.A. is set to slow from around 3% in 2010 to 2% in 2011, or possibly even lower." He sees rough roads ahead in China and Europe, too.