Bear or bull, boom or bust, organic multigrain wholemeal sourdough or white bread, there's something for everyone in 2011 with various prognosticators, commentators and astrologers calling any number of numbers for those playing forecasting bingo.Forecasting at any time is a bit of a mug's game, but it's played with particular vigour at this time of year, safe in the knowledge that many folk may be too hungover to remember what was promised.
The beauty of forecasting bingo, though, is that you can keep going through the forecasts until you find the ones you like, disregard the rest, shout “bingo!” and ring your broker.
For example, the China story, the most important single factor for our economic confidence in 2011. If you're naturally bullish, the forecast is for Beijing to wisely tap the brakes to keep growth sustainably running in the high single digits, more than enough to maintain strong prices for our booming key commodities. Each announcement of a Bank of China interest rate rise or tightening of liquidity ratios should be welcomed.
If you're a Sinophobe, or just naturally bearish, there are plenty of negative forecasts you can chose to believe instead. The common thread is that China is a giant bubble, still hopelessly dependent on the moribund and terminally indebted American consumer, and therefore set to burst at any tick of the clock.