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A few incorrect predictions for 2009

After reviewing how my five predictions for 2009 did, I was fascinated to get a note from Business Week  with the ten worst predictions made for the year.

Mine did not make the list, but my good friend Stephen Timewell from the Banker is on there:

"In short, under the robust leadership of Sheikh Mohammed, the UAE [United Arab Emirates] and Dubai are enjoying rapid change and development that is providing a clear lead in the Gulf."
Stephen Timewell, The Banker, October 2008

The psychics were better at forecasting when they said: “There will be a major terrorist attack in Dubai”.

There was … it was the attack from Sheikh Mohammed on the UAE’s finances in order to get Dubai bailed out.

Mind you, Business Week aren’t much better at making predictions. Here’s one of theirs from the start of year:

"Declaring that his work is done, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce he'll leave the Fed upon the expiration of his four-year term as chairman on Jan. 31, 2010. While mostly not his fault, the recession has hurt his standing with the Obama Administration — and it also has worn him down on a personal level. He'll be succeeded by Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary under the Clinton Administration."

Funny how they left that one out (as Bernanke gets reappointed for another four year term).

So I looked up a few more.

For example, back in January, eMarketer projected that: “online ad spending will rise 8.9% in 2009, after an already ratcheted-down rate of 11.3% in 2008. That’s considerably lower than 25.6% growth in 2007.”

Funnily enough, their latest report genuflects some numbers slightly differently:

“Spending for US online advertising will decrease in 2009 by 4.6%—the first drop since 2002. However, the slowly recovering economy, combined with basic structural changes in how marketers and the public use media, will lead to Internet ad spending growth in early 2010.”

Not sure I would trust that statement too much as the next line reads: “eMarketer previously estimated that 2009 online adspending would grow by 4.5% …”

Meanwhile, a regular forecast at start of year was to bash the Chinese economy. Fast Company put forward the view that: “China’s GDP is likely to plummet in 2009, and the West will revise its view of the country, recognizing it as a polluted place, rife with economic turmoil and starving people.”

That was about as accurate as the Hogue Prophecy – where John Hogue claims that he "writes about Nostradamus with the clarity and interpretive accuracy of a kindred prophet" – which thought that: “China's economic ascendancy will be in crisis and they may build a Great China Wall of a subtler sort to stop it.”

Not in 2009 I’m afraid. Nor in 2010 according to Channel News Asia:

Just as for other economies in the region, it was a rocky start to the year for China, caught in the turmoil of the global financial crisis.
But with a strong rebound in the second half of 2009, the economy looks set to surpass the 8 per cent growth target for the year.
According to some experts, the figures will show China contributing more than half of the world's GDP growth in 2009. And it looks set for another strong year in 2010.

So. What could be a good prediction for 2010?

Howsabout this one, from the January 2010 issue of Golf Digest:

"Woods is a good role model … Tiger never does anything that would make himself look ridiculous."

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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