Forecasts for the Economy and Financial Markets 2010-2012
Good or bad, everyone likes a forecast. Usually, forecasters like to issue them at the end or the beginning of the year but I thought that now would be a good time to review past forecasts and issue some new or updated ones.
Entering the fray with forecasting can be a dicey pursuit. No matter how confident you are about the outcome of your prognosticating, the unknown variables can pop up at any time. As much as possible, I embark on forecasts that I believe are not an â€śifâ€?â€¦but a â€śwhenâ€?. I may get it wrong in the short-term but the final outcome is in the long-term.
One of my first essays with forecasts was in the Spring of 2004. In that piece, I had seven specific forecasts. What were they and how have those forecasts fared? Here they are along with my commentary (keep in mind that they were made March 2004).
1.The Dow will go below 6,000.
As of July 2010, this one was wrong. Or was it? The Dow hit a low of 6,500 in March 2009. Not quite 6,000 but this was â€śclose enoughâ€?. It was very dicey to forecast the Dow since I believe (along with many others) that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have been known to intervene in attempts to â€śmanageâ€? this widely-watched barometer. When I made the forecast in 2004, the Dow was much higher and few expected it to fall that drastically. In the world of hand grenades and horse shoe tosses, this one was close enough.
2. The dollar will drop at least another 25%.
This one came true by early 2008.
3. Gold will hit $1,000 an ounce.
This also came true in early 2008.
4. Silver will hit $50 an ounce.
I was way off on this one but I will consider this forecast as a â€śwork in progressâ€? since I ultimately expect it to hit (and exceed) $50. I think that it should have already passed $50 but I am sure that if you have followed the great research by Ted Butler and David Morgan, you will understand that the silver market has been greatly hampered and that has caused silver to be grossly undervalued. In any case, After six long years, this forecast will have to be officially considered a miss (for now!).
5. The real estate/ mortgage bubble will pop.
This is a â€śbig hitâ€?. I even did seminars in 2005 about what to do to avoid the troubles (or profit from) the popping of the biggest real estate bubble in history. The wreckage from this major event sent shockwaves through Wall street and many financial markets worldwide. The real estate market will not have a healthy recovery for at least a few years.
6. We will have a severe recession.
This is also a hit; the recession that became termed â€śthe Great Recessionâ€? actually started in December of 2007 and was not considered technically done until 2009.
7. We will surpass 2 million bankruptcies & foreclosures.
This forecast was also a â€śhitâ€? as we passed 2 million bankruptcies and foreclosures in 2007.
Of the 7 forecasts, 5 were very accurate, one was very close and one was not. All things considered, not a bad forecasting record. When you add in the public forecasts from my national seminars (such as the sub-prime crisis and the commodities bull market), the accuracy rate is actually much higher.
In 2008, I did another forecast article and provided 6 forecasts; here they are again:
- You will see an inflationary depression that will be evident by 2010-11.
- Unemployment in the private sector will soar into double-digits by 2010.
- State and municipal governments will be federal bailout candidates during 2010-2011.
- Commodities will start the next leg of their long-term bull market starting in 2009.
- We will see oil hit $200 as Peak oil becomes obvious to all during 2009-2012.
- International conflicts over natural resources will hit the headlines during 2009-12.
As you can see, most of the forecasts made in 2008 are still â€śa work in progressâ€?.
Forecast #1 is halfway here; the depression is here and the second part of the forecast (inflation) will be coming with a vengeance. Stay tuned.
On Forecast #2, the official unemployment rate did hit 10% but it recently fell to 9.5% due to statistical shenanigans. Keep in mind that another (more accurate) unemployment rate (the so-called U-6 rate issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) is still in the neighborhood of 17%. That is definitely depression-level!
For Forecast #3, this is coming to pass right in front of our eyes. States like California and Illinois are fighting off bankruptcy and hundreds (thousands?) of cities, towns and counties are struggling with solvency issues. Many of these municipal governments have received federal â€śstimulus moneyâ€? but technically consider this as â€śbailout moneyâ€?. Consider this forecast (at this point) a â€śhitâ€?.
In Forecast #4, I predicted that commodities would turn around in 2009 after the drubbing they took in late 2008 and this forecast is generally a hit. Commodities may pull back in the short term and do lots of zig-zaging but the bottom line is that fundamentals are solid and the long-term bull market is intact. Seeing this market turn into a mania is a matter of time.
In Forecast #5, I made the call some years ago that oil would hit $200 but it had peaked at $147 in the summer of 2008 before plummeting to about $32 during late 2008-early 2009. It has since recovered and (as of early July 2010) it is in the $75-$79 range. This forecast was a â€śmissâ€? in 2008 but I consider this new forecast to be a â€śwork in progressâ€? as I expect world-wide oil demand (and geo-political factors) to push the price of oil to $200 by 2012. Stay tuned on this one.
In the last forecast (#6), wars over natural resources have not officially broken outâ€¦yet. but a struggling world-wide economy coupled with belligerence from hostile governments ranging from Venezuela and Iran to Russia and other countries is a potent and dangerous state of affairs. As the world population continues to sky-rocket and natural resources continue to dwindle, a major conflict will come about sooner or later. Again, stay tuned.
Here is a partial list of my forecasts (the full list appeared in this monthâ€™s Prosperity Alert newsletter):
- Gold will head to $2,000 and beyond during the next three years
- Silver will hit $25 during the next 12 months and soar to $100 by 2012
- Oil will be $100 by 2011 and onward to $200 by 2012-2013.
- IF THE TAX CUTS EXPIREâ€¦we will have a â€śgreater depressionâ€? start by 2011.
- The Federal deficit will hit $2 TRILLION during 2011-2013.
Can these forecasts be wrong? Sure. Anything is possible. However, I try to stick to events that have a near-certainty of happening (again, events that I believe are a â€śwhenâ€?â€¦not an â€śifâ€?). It is not a case of wishing any of these things. We donâ€™t wish for hurricanes but they will happen and you do have to ready for them.
What should people do to give themselves greater financial safety in the coming months and years? Keeping this in mind, I did a new audio program entitled â€śFinancial Firewallâ€?. There are many things that you can do to either protect your money (or even profit) from the events that are unfolding now or are coming. Start preparing before the next crisis hits.
July 15, 2010
Paul Mladjenovic is a CFP, national seminar leader and the author of â€śStock Investing for Dummiesâ€? and his website is www.RavingCapitalist.com. He is the editor of the free newsletter Prosperity Alert and his newest audio-book is â€śFinancial Firewall: How to Protect your Money & Investments in the Age of Financial Chaosâ€?.