Predictions from Davos

At Davos in 2014, forecasters were focused on the pace of the U.S. economy and Federal Reserve tapering of monetary stimulus, the dizzying heights the U.S. stock market has reached, and the impact of those on the rest of the world, including widely expected tough times in emerging markets. There’s the future of China’s economy and the future of the price of oil and its impact in the world’s petro-states –which tend to also be many of the politically troubled parts of the world. There are divided opinions over the future of the Japanese economy under Abenomics. Palpitations are growing over more extreme weather like the “polar vortex” that gripped much of the U.S. earlier this month.

What’s striking about this year’s predictions is that there are no gloom and doom scenarios on forecasters’ lists.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, based on a survey of more than 700 experts around the world who were asked to rank risks according to their probability and impact was released on January 17.

* income disparity is the risk most likely to cause an impact on a global scale in the next decade
* Other highly probable, high impact risks include extreme weather events, unemployment, and fiscal crises

Blackstone Vice Chair Byron Wien predicts a 10 percent correction from market extremes but a total return of 20 percent by year’s end.

China has kept ahead of worries despite many predictions of a hard landing.

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